Three years ago, original Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez made a run at the lightweight title with wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida before hitting a brick wall known as the best B.J. Penn the world had ever seen. While Sanchez looked sharp at 155 pounds, by his own account he was far from living up to his potential due to a number of personal issues in his life.
Fresh off an entertaining albeit losing performance against Jake Ellenberger in early March, Sanchez recently underwent surgery for an injured shoulder and will be out until fall. The situation has not only given him an opportunity to take care of a nagging affliction but to give serious consideration to another dip in the lightweight pool.
“I’m probably going to be going down to 155 for the next fight,” said Sanchez in an interview with MMAJunkie Radio. “The last time I was at 155, I was just a wreck. Mentally, I was still young and partying a lot, and I was still smoking weed. I was just a wild child. Now that I’m grounded and have my life together and am married, I’m just focused. So maybe 155 might be a better weight for me.”
While plenty of exciting match-ups await Sanchez at lightweight, the one opponent he seems most drawn to is Anthony Pettis. In addition to being an exciting, well-rounded competitor, the 15-2 “Showtime” happens to be healing up from similar surgery and is expected to be ready for action around the same time as Sanchez.
“I told Dana I really liked that fight,” relayed Sanchez of a potential pairing with Pettis. “I want to fight a guy who’s a fan favorite and who has a lot of fans and is a big draw. It’d make us both better, the sport better. Plus, the guy has a win over the champ, so that’d bump me up right to the top.”
Pettis beat current title-holder Benson Henderson in late 2010 by way of decision. He is 2-1 since joining the UFC with a loss to Guida.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC