by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Kurt Pellegrino didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the fruits of his recent victory over Alberto Crane as the UFC came calling again, this time with the opportunity to face another “Ultimate Fighter” winner in Nate Diaz on April 2 in Colorado.
In an interview with MMAWeekly.com, Pellegrino said he immediately accepted and went right back into training to prepare for the upcoming bout.
“I got my stitches out in eight days, from my lip, and the day they took them out I put Vaseline on my face and went right back in the gym and starting training jiu-jitsu,” Pellegrino said. “My shape now is better than it was for Alberto (Crane). I kept my foundation so this is the best camp I could ever ask for.”
The stitches he refers too were courtesy of a high kick to his face from Crane that left a gash in his chin.
This will be the second time Pellegrino has faced an “Ultimate Fighter” season winner. The first was a loss to season two champion Joe Stevenson, and Kurt doesn’t plan on going 0-2 when he faces Nate Diaz.
“His name has already been in the stars, he won the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ show,” said Pellegrino about his UFC Fight Night 13 opponent. “His name will forever be in the stars. When I fought Joe Stevenson, I had the opportunity to put my name in the stars as well and make the stars shine above me when I walk in the ring.
“I failed that test. I let myself down by breaking my hand and fatiguing from the pain and all that stuff. This is my opportunity in my life to set things straight. The UFC has given me another chance in my life to make the stars shine for me.”
Pellegrino respects what Diaz had to accomplish by winning the show and facing some stiff competition along the way.
“Nate’s a tough kid. He’s young in this sport. He won the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ show and there’s a lot of tough guys on that show,” Pellegrino stated. “Matt Wiman, who is a former teammate of mine, he was there. And Gray Maynard, he’s an amazing wrestler. Manny Gamburyan was on the show; I know he was tough. Cole Miller was on the show, Joe Lauzon. Those are all pretty good guys.”
Considered one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the UFC’s lightweight division, Pellegrino plans on testing Diaz’s pedigree in this fight.
“This is definitely Nate’s biggest step in competition for sure,” he commented. “Because of my background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu. My boxing is really good now, too; I’ve been working on it for like six years. He’s going to have his hands full, and I’m going to have my hands full, too. I think whoever comes ready to fight that day is going to win it.
“Good luck to him and everyone he’s training with.”