Following his release from the UFC in late 2015, flyweight Joby Sanchez has worked hard to return to the promotion.
Following two wins on the local scene, Sanchez fought twice on Dana White’s Contender Series, finally earing his return to the UFC, capping what for him had been one of the most up and down period of time in his career.
“I lost on that TUF (22) Finale and it was rough,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “My dream was to fight in the UFC ever since I was 13 years old, and 10 years later I ended up getting signed to the UFC, went 1-2 in three fights and got cut, so that was awful.
“It was very disappointing, but it drove me. I knew I wasn’t done yet. I knew I still had a lot to give to the sport. Really all I did was push harder and won four fights and 18 months later signed a UFC contract.”
After not earning a UFC contract following his first fight on the Contender series with a unanimous decision victory over Manny Vasquez in July, Sanchez made sure he could not be denied when he bested JP Buys via second round TKO in his return the following month.
“It hit me right away,” said Sanchez. “I understood what was in front of me. It was my second opportunity and I understood that I could do that. I was going to take advantage of it that time.”
Sanchez (11-2) will make his promotional return at UFC Fight Night 126 on February 18 in Austin, Texas, versus Roberto Sanchez (7-1) in a preliminary 125-pound bout.
“Roberto’s obviously a tough contender,” Sanchez said. “He was a former LFA champion. He’s a very good grappler. I am prepared for him. I have a good coaching system, I come from a good camp, and I’m looking forward to an upcoming challenge.
“I need to show this flyweight division that I’m here and they better be ready for me because I am ready for them.”
Feeling he is a much better fighter now than when he was first in the UFC, Sanchez’s goal for 2018 is to firmly establish himself as one of the premier flyweights in the promotion.
“I’m going to fight three times and win three times,” said Sanchez. “By the end of the year I will be in the Top 15.”