Though he suffered through a myriad of injures last year, featherweight Emmanuel Sanchez didn’t let that get in the way of a perfect 3-0 run for the year.
As Sanchez explains it, in order for him to make a name for himself in the featherweight division, he has to be willing to fight through injuries to keep his momentum going.
“I had torn ligaments, injured tendons, I wasn’t 100-percent, but I still took every fight,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “I couldn’t back out. I want to stay relevant, and to stay relevant, you have to stay active.
“I think I showcased a lot of great things. I can’t wait to show that I’m better than the last one. I know it’s cliché to say that someone is looking better every time, but that’s what it is. I took every single opportunity I could get and I showcased a lot.”
“I’m only 27, but when you’re young; 21,22; you get hurt and then you heal rapidly, then all of a sudden you need to take a day off or training sessions off to help recover,” said Sanchez. “It’s me listening to my body, being smart, and still being able to go out there and put it on the line.”
Sanchez (16-3) will look to continue his success from last year when he faces Sam Sicilia (15-8) in a Bellator 198 featherweight co-main event on Saturday in Rosemont, Ill.
“He has a lot of experience, but so do I. obviously he has a little bit more on the higher level, but it’s okay because I’m just getting started,” Sanchez said of Sicilia. “I’ve been fighting guys with twice as much experience as me since I got into Bellator.
“For me it’s about being my youth, my skillset, my size and my endurance. That’s one thing for sure that everyone knows is that my endurance outlasts them all.”
For Sanchez, what can make 2018 better than 2017 is to continue to progress as a fighter and make more headway towards achieving his goals.
“I’ve really taken into my overall health into account to perform,” said Sanchez. “It’s all about mindset. I’ve got to be a professional. I’ve got to be an athlete. I’ve got to make myself faster. I’ve got to make myself stronger.
“I’ve got to make it happen. I’ve got to go out there and get it. I know what I want, and now it’s time to put both feet down and go out and get it this year.”