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Diego Sanchez Likely To Make Return Early Next Year

According to Diego Sanchez’s manager, Malki Kawa, who recently appeared on MMAWeekly Radio, the 29-year-old welterweight should be returning to action in early 2012 from the hand injury which sidelined him from UFC 135 last month.

“Diego’s hand, I want to say, is about 75 to 80-percent healed up,” Kawa told MMAWeekly. “He’s lifting weights on it, he’s taking really good care of it, he’s rehabbing it hard. He’s really trying to get back as soon as possible. I estimate him coming back either the first part of February or the later part of February.”

Sanchez was slated to face UFC Hall of Famer and former longtime welterweight champion Matt Hughes in the co-main event of UFC 135, which featured a light heavyweight title fight between champ Jon Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but was forced out of the bout after suffering a broken hand during his training camp.

The fighter formerly known as The Nightmare last appeared in action at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann, facing off against well-rounded Dutchman Martin Kampmann. After the two men battled back and forth, putting on a Fight of the Night-winning performance, Sanchez was declared the victor via unanimous decision.

He is widely rumored to be facing surging 170-pounder Jake Ellenberger in his eventual return, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.