Diego Sanchez appears to have finally found an opponent for his UFC 74 fight. The top welterweight will face “The Prodigy” B.J. Penn in a main card fight on the August 25th UFC card according to Sherdog.
Sanchez has been reported to be on the August PPV card for months although his opponent had previously been rumored to be PRIDE veteran Hayato Sakurai. Plans for the fight never materialized when a report surfaced last month that Sakurai had no plans to fight Sanchez. “Nightmare” was without a named opponent for some time but it now appears that B.J. Penn will jump to the welterweight class in a top notch bout between 2 top contenders.
Penn last fought several weeks ago on The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale when he defeated Jens Pulver by second round submission. His status was in limbo for some time as it wasn’t clear whether Penn may stay in the lightweight division, potentially to challenge for the division title, or whether he would jump to welterweight for an eventual shot at Matt Hughes. It appears Penn and the UFC have opted for the latter with Penn facing Sanchez is a marquee matchup with the winner likely to face the loser of another UFC 74 fight between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck.
Sanchez lost in a lackluster fight at UFC 69 to Koscheck but after the matchup it was revealed that Sanchez had a serious staph infection that nearly forced him to withdraw from the fight. The loss was Sanchez’s first career MMA loss while a win over Penn would easily put him back into the picture for a welterweight title shot.