Diego Sanchez may have found himself a new home. After notching his second consecutive lightweight win in as many contests, Sanchez feels that he is long overdue for a five-round title fight, and for the first time in his career, he is calling for it.
“That was my 15th fight here in the Octagon,” said Sanchez after squeaking out a controversial split decision win over Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale. “Aside from the (Josh) Koscheck and (Jon) Fitch fight, which [was] a split decision (loss), I’ve paid my dues here in the UFC.
“I just feel [the title shot] is up to [the UFC brass], Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana [White] and the UFC. If they feel I’ll bring an exciting and entertaining fight they want for a title fight, then they can put me in there. That’s their decision and their call, and I respect their judgment.”
Leading into his scrap this past weekend, Sanchez took exception to the fact that the divison’s top contender, Kenny Florian – who he dominated to capture the TUF 1 crown – will be getting his second shot at UFC gold, while Diego has never seen a 25-minute title fight.
“One of the reasons for me dropping to 155 was the fact that Kenny Florian is coming up on his second title shot, and this is a guy that I walked through four years ago,” Sanchez previously stated. “And everybody thinks that, yeah, we’ve both evolved, we’ve both changed, we’re both different fighters, we’ve both improved a lot. But the fact is that I walked through him and it wasn’t even a fight . . .”
Sanchez was less aggressive during the TUF 9 post-fight presser, simply stating, “I do feel like I’m the No. 1 contender, I always have. If they do decide to put me in there next in line as the top contender, I’ll give it everything I have.”
Now Sanchez gets to sit back and enjoy the 155-pound title tilt between Florian and champ BJ Penn at UFC 101 on August 8th like the rest of us. The only difference is Sanchez will probably be sitting Octagon-side inside the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“Whatever happens with them, I’m ready,” Sanchez said. “I hope it’s me next in line. I’m ready to put that belt around my waist.”