When word first surfaced yesterday that Diego Sanchez had been yanked from a UFC 135 bout with former welterweight champ Matt Hughes the conversation almost immediately turned to replacements with the furor amped up by Josh Koscheck’s statements about filling in for the injured Ultimate Fighter winner. However, lost in the shuffle was Sanchez’s own reaction to the disappointing situation.
The 29-year old finally spoke on the matter Monday night where he made it clear his broken hand is not the only thing hurting at the moment.
“I am heartbroken that I have to inform MMA fans that I cannot fight Hughes at UFC 135 later this month,” Sanchez began. “I have never physically felt more prepared to compete than I felt for this fight, which makes this even more painful for me.”
Sanchez’s brief statement ended with a message of hope for his supporters, saying, “While I do not know right now when I will return, I want to assure all of the fans out there that I will be back in the Octagon as soon as I am 100 percent healthy.”
The Jackson’s MMA product out of New Mexico has experienced both highs and lows throughout his career but rarely if ever fails to entertain inside the ring. Sanchez is 23-4 with five “Fight of the Night” awards and wins over a number of notable peers including Martin Kampmann, Paulo Thiago, Ken Florian, and Clay Guida.
UFC 135 is scheduled for September 24 in Denver with a headlining tilt between 205-pound champion Jon Jones and former title-holder Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Though nothing official has been revealed, it appears Hughes will face Koscheck instead of Sanchez as long as he agrees to “Kos” as an alternate with the 15-5 grappler already saying he’d accepted the fight on his end.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC