UFC welterweight Diego Sanchez may have lost the battle on Wednesday night at UFC on Fuel TV 1 in Omaha, Neb., but he hasn’t lost the war. Head held high, he was rather upbeat following his latest fight.
Even though Jake Ellenberger took the unanimous nod from the judges – and Sanchez doesn’t begrudge him that – the New Mexican felt he performed well, despite having to overcome a severely sprained ankle just three weeks ago.
“It was a great challenge and a great effort. I had a lot of obstacles to overcome, coming into this fight,” Sanchez stated on the UFC on Fuel TV post-fight show.
“I pulled out of the Matt Hughes fight for my broken hand. I got a family to take care of. I refused… I wasn’t pulling out of the fight. I did what I could do. I came into the fight and went to battle.”
Following the event, UFC president Dana White declared that all main event fights – not counting previously contracted three-rounders – whether or not they are for a title, would be five rounds.
Sanchez only wishes that White had made such a declaration before this fight, which was a three-round, non-title affair.
“I wish the fight would have been five rounds. I think I had some momentum if there would have been going into the fourth. I went for the stoppage; I should have went for the choke.”
Sanchez, who trains under coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, N.M., said that the ankle was no excuse for the losing the fight. It didn’t really bother him during the bout, but it severely limited his ability to train the way he’s accustomed to.
He couldn’t do much of the cardio training he likes to do leading up to a fight. He couldn’t run, sprint, or jump rope as he normally does.
“I just had to basically work around the injury and do what I could do to prepare,” he said. “I came in with the best possible Sanchez that I could be and I came close to getting it there in the end.”
As for what is next, Sanchez didn’t have a specific answer, although most fighters don’t typically no what’s next immediately following a fight anyway, unless of course they have just won a No. 1 contender’s bout.
Sanchez has moved from 185 pounds down to 170 pounds down to 155 pounds and then back up to 170 pounds in his career. So it’s not unrealistic to ask if he would consider dropping back to lightweight.
He didn’t rule it out, but Sanchez’s plans aren’t tied so much to a weight class as they once were when he was hunting belts.
“I’m gonna take the fights that propel me to the biggest stage, get these main events, super big fights,” he responded. “155 is never out of the question.
“I’m gonna talk to my coaches, talk to my manager, and talk to Joe Silva, Dana White, and see what fight we can put together. But more than likely, I’ll probably be staying at welterweight.”
Sanchez and Ellenberger’s efforts earned them the Fight of the Night honors at the UFC’s inaugural live event on Fuel TV. So as long as he keeps putting performances like that together, it’s unlikely that fans will care what weight class he fights in.