Sanchez will throw hands with longtime, welterweight contender Matt Brown at the event, in a bout that has “Fight of The Night” written all over it. The contest will mark the first time Sanchez has fought at 170, however, since 2012. Following a decision loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FUEL TV 1 (remember those cards?), Sanchez returned to the lightweight division. At one point, the New Mexico fighter even went all the way down to 145.
But, following a knockout loss to heavy handed lightweight, Al Iaquinta earlier this year, Sanchez has returned to the division where he scored many of his earliest, UFC wins. While talking to MMA Junkie this week about his move to 155, and his return to welterweight, Sanchez relayed this:
“After my loss at UFC 200 … I had to lose to realize that I wasn’t fighting at my best,” Sanchez said. “I wasn’t fighting at my healthiest. It was a hard thing to do. I took that first knockout loss by Al Iaquinta and it made me realize, ‘Ya know what, Diego? You’re 35 years old. You can’t recover from these weight cuts the way you used to when you were 25 years old…”
“I went down to 155 for the challenge,” Sanchez said. “I went down to 155 back in the day when (testosterone-replacement therapy) was allowed to be done. These guys didn’t even have a test for Human Growth Hormone. On top of that, they were using IVs to rehydrate.”
“…The game is changing. And you’re seeing that the real truth of it is, when fighters are natural, it’s not the size of the dog, it’s the fight in the dog.”
It will be interesting to see how Sanchez looks and performs tonight, back at 170. It’s a pivotal fight for “The Dream”, as he’s gone 2-3 in his last 5 fights, and a win over the ridiculously tough Brown, would be a big statement.
Brown, meanwhile, had said that tonight was going to be the last of his memorable career. But more recently, Brown relayed that may not turn out to be the case.
UFC Fight Night 120 will go down in Norfolk, Virginia.