by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
After leaving Team Jackson and trainer Greg
Jackson, Diego Sanchez suffered his first professional mixed martial arts loss
and dropped two in a row. Now, acclimated to his new training environment,
Sanchez defeated Luigi Fioravanti at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Live Finale and has
reeled off back-to-back victories. "The Nightmare" appears refocused
and is eyeing Ultimate Fighting Championship gold.
"Coming off these two wins now, I feel
like I’m back on track," said Sanchez. "The two losses came with
perfect timing. To be honest, if I wouldn’t have had those loses I maybe would
have gone on to become the champion, but the timing wouldn’t have been right.
Now I feel the timing is right to go and become the champion and hold the belt.
That’s what every fighter wants to do, become the champion and stay the
Admittedly, Sanchez got caught up in the
celebrity lifestyle after winning "The Ultimate Fighter" Spike TV
reality series’ debut season. "With fame and money, a lot of distraction
comes," he explained. "For me, the limelight was so huge after
winning the show and continuing to win, the win streak that I was on. After all
of that was over with and I had my losses, just because I lost, the limelight
went away and I understood what I’m in this business for, and it’s not the
limelight. It’s to fight."
The refocused and revitalized Sanchez was
asked where he fits into the UFC welterweight division. The Ultimate Fighter
turned contender commented, "Me and my team and my management, we have
gone over every possible situation in the 170-pound division. It all depends on
what happens in the upcoming fights, honestly. We’ve got GSP (Georges St. Pierre)
who is stating that he’s going up to 185. Me and (Jon) Fitch was an excellent,
close fight. It came down to game plan. I was not hurt once in the fight. It
was just a technical points match.
"There’s also AKA (American Kickboxing
Academy), Team AKA," he further stated. "You’ve got (Mike) Swick,
(Josh) Koscheck and you’ve got Fitch. They’re not going to fight each other, so
that right there throws a little something in there.
"So GSP leaves, what happens? B.J. Penn
has stated he wanted to fight GSP. Now GSP is leaving. There’s a lot of stuff
that’s going to happen," said the New Mexico native. "I’m just waiting.
I’m ready to fight whoever they put in front of me. I want the title shot.
"I’ve stated I wanted rematches with
Fitch and Koscheck. That’s the past. I’ve let it go. I look forward to
rematching them some day, maybe. If it happens, if it gets put in my path, I’m
ready for that. I have my sight on one thing, and that’s UFC gold."
watch the Behind The Scenes complete Ultimate Fighter 7 post-fight press
conference with comments from Diego Sanchez, C.B. Dollaway, Amir Sodallah, and
Kendall Grove in MMAWeekly.com’s video section.)