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Diego Sanchez: “I have to beat him convincingly and that’s what I came to Omaha to do.”

With all the talk surrounding the state of the UFC’s welterweight division, especially in terms of contendership given Nick Diaz’s potential suspension/retirement and an upcoming bout between Josh Koscheck-Johny Hendricks, original Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez wants to make sure the public hasn’t forgotten about him. Sanchez fights Jake Ellenberger tomorrow night in the main event at UFC on Fuel 1 where the winner will emerge with a solid winning streak against a handful of apt adversaries.

“You know, this is a big fight with Jake Ellenberger because I believe he is one of the top guys in the division,” said Sanchez at the show’s open workouts. “He has more momentum than a Koscheck or a Hendricks right now, and I think a win over him is going to set me up in a good position in the division and a shot at the title.”

Ellenberger is coming off a knockout win over former Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields, improving his record inside the Octagon to 5-1 with the lone stumble involving a Split Decision loss in his UFC debut to Carlos Condit.

“The fact that people aren’t talking about me for a title shot doesn’t bother me,” Sanchez continued. “It’s alright. Ellenberger has five wins in the UFC and some impressive ones. It all gets factored in. I have two Fight of the Nights but, for me, to get that title shot I’m really going to have to earn it. So I’m going to have to go in there and beat the guy who everyone says is going to get the title shot. I have to go in and beat him and I have to beat him convincingly and that’s what I came to Omaha to do.”

The bout also happens to be occurring in Ellenberger’s proverbial backyard of Omaha, though for Sanchez the location matters little based on the maturing he’s done as a professional Mixed Martial Artist.

“There’s no added pressure fighting him in his hometown. I used to get involved in mind games, the fight before the fight. The mental and psychological aspects of the head games. When I was younger I used to think that was part of it. If you could beat a fighter before you even got into the ring then that was part of it,” the 23-4 Sanchez explained. “But now I’ve realized that once they lock the door it’s just two guys, two men. The decisions that they made in their training camp, the decisions that they made with their life, that’s all that matters and what’s in their hearts.”

Catch Ellenberger and Sanchez scrap when things fire up on Fuel TV at 8:00 PM EST. Other bouts include heavyweight action featuring Philip De Fries vs. Stipe Miocic and Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

7 COMMENTS
  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Winner should face Condit for the belt. Thats if hes willing to risk fighting this year. Since both Condit and GSP will be out until the end of the year, perhaps a third belt is needed.

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  • Dufresne says:

    It should be interesting to see if Ellenberger can use his strength and size to dominate Sanchez or if Sanchez can wear Ellenberger down with his relentless cardio. Ellenberger had issues with his cardio in his loss to Condit back in his UFC debut and he’s been working on fixing that ever since, but Diego is a cardio machine so we should get a chance to see how far he’s brought it. Unless he does to Diego what he did to Shields, Pierson, Pyle, and the other 14 guys he’s KO’d. 26-5 with 17 KO’s, 5 submissions, and only 4 decisions. That’s pretty impressive.

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  • Rece Rock says:

    Sanchez via Decision.

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  • MCM says:

    Sanchez is a loooong way away from a title shot IMO. The Kampmann fight was one of the worst robberies in the history of the sport, making Diego 1-3 in his last 4. Even if he beats Ellenberger, he’s got 3 to 4 fights before he sniffs UFC gold.
    Jake, on the other hand, should get next shot. He hasn’t lost convincingly in his last 10 fights.

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  • danw84 says:

    Haha Diego isn’t 1-3 just because you feel he is.

    I will agree that Diego shouldn’t get a shot with this win, as well as Jake should with it.

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  • MCM says:

    No, he’s 2-2 in his last 4. But that’s still not enough for him to be in title discussion, even with a win. Ergo, he’s a loooong was from a title shot. Especially when compared to Ellenberger.

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  • true but if he knocks off ellenberger then he snatches alot of that momentum….but i dont think he will…worst case I think Jake will convincingly win the first, win the second and gas and lose the third.

    And Struve is gonna submit Pee Wee after getting knocked around.

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