UFC welterweight-turned-lightweight Diego Sanchez has been with renowned trainer Greg Jackson since the beginning of his career minus a brief period a few years back. He’s also been known as one of the most exciting fighters in MMA for an equally long time, turning in some true classics over his ten-year career including recent wars against Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger.
Given both factors, Sanchez takes it a bit personally when criticism is aimed as his coach for creating game-plans occasionally involving a safe approach to competition rather than an aesthetically pleasing one. Sanchez elaborated on the matter this week on The MMA Hour where he agreed with fans’ displeasure over having to watch boring bouts but assigned blame differently than many MMA enthusiasts might.
“I thought both of those fights sucked,” said Sanchez when asked about notorious 2012 performances from Carlos Condit and Clay Guida, both his teammates at Jackson’s gym in New Mexico. “I thought Nick Diaz won the fight with Carlos. When you’re not engaging and you’re not fighting, that takes away what this sport is.”
However, while Guida and Condit may both call Jackson’s MMA home, Sanchez continued on to state the problem wasn’t leadership but rather how each of his peers used the instructions they’d been offered.
“It’s on that fighter. In the end, they lock the door and the coaches aren’t in there with you. In the end, if you’re in the UFC, you are a professional, you paid your dues, and you know exactly what this job entails. You should go in there as a professional and do what you do,” offered Sanchez of his preferred approach to competition. “I’d rather go out swinging, fighting like a warrior, those last 30 seconds. I’m going to leave it all out in the cage and know that I’m trying to finish my opponent, even knowing that most of my time it ain’t going to be a finish.”
Guida’s lack of engagement against Gray Maynard in June earned him a loss in addition to the ire of his employers, while Condit won a controversial decision against Diaz resulting in a title-shot as well as questions from the public about how deserving he actually was.
Sanchez is currently out while recovering from shoulder surgery but is expected to fight again this year where he’ll be returning to 155 pounds after making a run at the belt the first time he tested himself in the division.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/JACKSONSMMA