Diego Sanchez is just a few days removed from fighting in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico this weekend at UFC Fight Night 42.
To say Sanchez is excited would be a gigantic understatement. Sanchez was on the MMA Hour yesterday and discussed the opportunity to fight in front of his hometown fans:
I was the first fighter from Albuquerque to be in the UFC and now I get my homecoming. I get my big fight at home. And for me, this fight means more to me than if I was fighting for the title, because this is realistically the last time that I’m going to get to fight in front of all my family.
Not only does Sanchez get to fight in his hometown, he gets top billing as the co-main event against TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson.
Sanchez knows how important this fight is to his career, as he has gone 1-3 in his last four. His lone win was a highly disputed decision over Takanori Gomi. Even if Sanchez loses this fight, it would be hard to imagine that the original TUF winner would be cut by the organization.
No matter what, Sanchez always comes to fight and puts on an exciting show. His UFC 166 bout with Gilbert Melendez is widely considered one of the most exciting fights in UFC history.
The lone fight where Sanchez could not put on an exciting performance was in his last bout against Myles Jury at UFC 171. Jury utilized his footwork to stick and move and outpoint Sanchez for the victory. Diego discussed that hole in his game, and how he is working on it for his upcoming bout with Ross:
Ross is a warrior and fighters have their own styles, but it’s kind of known out there that the best way to go and try to eek a little points win past me is to try and play hit and run, try to go play tag out there and not try to knock me out. Like, ‘I can’t knock this guy out, I can’t finish this guy, so I’m going to try to just outpoint him.’
That’s part of the sport and I have to evolve past that. I’ve worked very hard on improving my speed and my footwork, and I’ve implemented a lot of specific training to try to fill that hole in my game. But yeah, I think that a lot of guys try to play hit and run. It’s probably the best way to fight me and come out victorious, but do the fans like that kind of fight? Does anybody like that type of fight?
Sanchez promises to bring the violence and excitement fans have come accustomed to seeing from him, but more importantly, can he bring home the victory as well? Only time will tell.