by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Only two fights into his newfound home at lightweight, Diego Sanchez, when you do the math, is ready for a shot at the UFC championship.
He’s not demanding it. “That’s up to (UFC brass Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta),” he told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday night.
No matter who wins the title bout between current champ B.J. Penn and challenger Kenny Florian at UFC 101 in August, MMA math or not, Sanchez holds true to his claims of being the division’s number one contender.
“Now, going in and beating two of the top contenders at 155 (Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson), I think I’m the number one guy,” he stated. “The only other person is Gray Maynard and Gray Maynard has a win over Frankie Edgar, who has a win over Sean Sherk, but also, people don’t forget, Nate Diaz has a win over Gray Maynard on The Ultimate Fighter and Guida has a win over Nate Diaz. So, if you really do the math, it puts me as number one contender.”
That might be a little tough to follow, but it all adds up to the winner of Penn and Florian. And if it shakes out that way for UFC officials, he’s got motivation to fight whichever fighter holds the belt.
“Of course, if Kenny Florian pulled off a victory, that’s a big fight for UFC, match-up the original Ultimate (Fighter) season one finale,” Sanchez relates. “That’s the reason I dropped down to lightweight because watching Kenny Florian get his second title shot and that’s a guy that I went in the ring and dominated, that’s some motivation for me to come down to 155.”
His eyes light up and the inflection in his voice changes as he talks about the other possibility, B.J. Penn. Although he believes he has a key edge over the Hawaiian.
“I think a fight with B.J. would be awesome. B.J.’s gonna stand and go to war with me, the way I did with Clay Guida, except the question mark with a fight with me and B.J. is, hey, is he gonna get more tired than me?”
It’s obvious what Sanchez believes, “I think he’s gonna get more tired than me. B.J.’s not a Clay Guida gas tank and we all know that. So that obviously is gonna make for a very interesting fight.
“I just now went in there and fought probably the most well-conditioned fighter in the UFC, Clay Guida. He’s a fireball. I also am one of the most well-conditioned athletes in the UFC. My pace has always been one of the top paces.”
It’s not clear yet if he’ll get the call to face the winner of that Aug. 8 fight in Philadelphia, but Sanchez will be ready, waiting in the wings, willing to vacate his position as the number one contender believing he will walk away with UFC gold around his waste.