He’s still not high on Nick Diaz.
The two first faced each other in November of 2005 at the The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale. Sanchez came out on top in the contest, which, like most of his losses, Diaz wasn’t happy about. The outspoken Stockton resident makes his gripes where he sees fit, and as a result has built a following over the years that supports his protests.
Sanchez, however, has words for Diaz’s fan base and their allegiance to the “209er” – shut up.
“All you little people out there that are Nick Diaz groupies: I beat him then, I’ll beat him again,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. “I don’t know why you guys say this crap. ‘Oh, that was a long time ago! Nick Diaz has gotten so much better.’ You know what, man?! Everybody’s gotten better! That’s what happens!”
Sanchez isn’t blind to the fact that Diaz has become one of the world’s best 170-pound fighters on the planet. He gives him the respect any other would give for building his reputation in the years outside of the UFC’s Octagon. But once Diaz returned to the organization last year, Sanchez was less than impressed.
A fight with former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn told Sanchez that Diaz, while a great fighter, on that night fought someone who has seen greater days.
In fact, according to Sanchez, he wishes he could have gotten it so easy.
“I commend Nick Diaz for everything he’s done, and he did take it to B.J., but the B.J. that fought Nick Diaz was not the B.J. that fought me,” he proclaimed. “I wish I could have fought that B.J.”
With so much animosity towards Diaz and his following, it’s easy to assume Sanchez’s attention might be drifting away from his pending UFC on Fuel TV fight with Jake Ellenberger scheduled for Feb. 15. Not so fast, said the Jackson’s MMA fighter. He still has his eyes focused on the task at hand, which is getting his chance to earn a shot at the interim UFC welterweight title.
Ellenberger is still priority No. 1.
“A big win in this fight I think (will) put me in line for a shot at (Carlos Condit). That’s what I would want,” he said. “Get that interim belt and fight ‘GSP.’
“I’m not looking ahead of Jake Ellenberger. He’s a champion.”
But in a division with an interim title, injured pay-per-view star, and deep list of up-and-coming competitors looking for a piece of the pie, it’s unrealistic that Sanchez would only have Ellenberger in mind. The public jabs at Diaz make sense for the former Ultimate Fighter winner and the position he’s in, especially given their history.
Ellenberger is first, but he’d love to get in there with Diaz one more time.
“The guy is the most negative guy in the sport, and I would love to put a whooping on him again,” he said. “I’m still (the) Diego Sanchez who can take down Nick Diaz and his ‘blanky’ legs.”