Looking back on his lone win of 2018 this past April when he picked up a first round submission of Sam Sicilia at Bellator 198, featherweight Emmanuel Sanchez is happy with the win, even if he’s not so pleased with his performance.
According to Sanchez, even though he got the finish against Sicilia in just under four minutes, he feels he could have done better.
“I thought it was pretty good, but good isn’t good enough, it’s got to be great,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m happy with it, but it could have been better. How, you ask? I don’t know. I just know it could have. It’s nothing I can show or explain.
“I learn from it. I grow from it. I take the positives from it. I’m happy for the finish, the win, the dominant performance and move on to the next one.”
At Bellator 209 on Friday in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sanchez (17-3) will challenge title holder Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (27-4) in the 145-pound championship main event.
“It’s two additional rounds if possible,” said Sanchez. “It’s just another man. It’s just another fight. I love to fight. He loves to fight. I’m excited. I’m sure he’s excited.
“It’s going to be a great fight – fireworks. It’s two fighters leaving it all on the line. I want the belt. It’s what I wanted since I started. I’m hungry and I’m ready; I’ve got my desire and passion; and am ready to make my dream come true.”
As for how he matches up technical with Freire, Sanchez feels he has the right tools to force his opponent into a bad spot that he can take advantage of.
“I think my tenacity and my ferocity (are my keys to the fight),” Sanchez said. “I’m not a fast guy. I’m not a strong guy. I’m not going to say my ground is better or Jiu-jitsu is better or my hands are better; my overall game is better; I’ll just say that.
“(Freire has) been a two-time champ. He’s been on top for a long time. So for me to have an opportunity and prove it’s my time – that’s it. I’ve got to prove that I want it. I want it more than anything in the world; I’ve just got to go out and get it.”
As it stands right now, only the Bellator featherweight title is on Sanchez’s mind. He’s not focusing on anything beyond winning the title and achieving that goal.
“I said I want to be champion,” said Sanchez. “It could have been (Daniel) Strauss, it could have been (Daniel) Weichel, it could have been Donald Trump – it could have been whoever – whoever holds the belt is who I want.
“(Right now) it happens to be Pitbull, he happens to be the champ, and it’s a fight, so I’ve just got to go out there and take care of business.”