Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Gilbert Melendez (red gloves) fights against Diego Sanchez (blue gloves) in their lightweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. The fight was considered one of the best of the year for 2013. Ultimately, Gilbert Melendez walked away with the unanimous decision victory and a shot at UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Diego Sanchez says he beats Anthony Pettis '9 out of 10 times'

Diego Sanchez is a fan’s fighter first. He is always willing to stand in the pocket and exchange with his opponent, regardless of the potential outcome. While this may not reflect the most savvy IQ, there is certainly a reason Diego Sanchez has a legion of fans.

After losing his epic UFC 166 battle against Gilbert Melendez, Sanchez returned at UFC 171, losing to Myles Jury in a lopsided decision. Sanchez’s penchant for trading in the pocket had him swinging at air as Jury picked his shots while moving in and out of Diego’s range.

Diego blamed his poor performance on food poisoning, and promised to come back better than ever. The UFC then granted his wish to fight in Albuquerque on June 7th against Ross Pearson. Sanchez may be in a must win situation after losing his last two in a row and three of his last four.

Regardless, Sanchez’s confidence has never been higher. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Diego mentioned that he wants to get back into title contention because he believes he has the tools to beat Anthony Pettis:

I feel I have everything to offer (Pettis), I just haven’t got to show it yet.

As far as wrestling and ground skills with Pettis, I think I’m on another level. He has some nice ground skills, too, but I feel like I’m on another level, and (with) size and strength, I feel that’s a fight I win nine out of 10 times.

Sanchez certainly has a long road to get to Pettis, and it will begin June 7th against Ross Pearson.

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Tags: Anthony Pettis Dana White Diego Sanchez Gilbert Melendez Lightweight MMA Ross Pearson UFC Welterweight