It was a message that was short and sweet. In a blog posting on his official MySpace account, Diego Sanchez — or someone posting under his identity — claimed that he’s not only back in the gym, but is preparing to make his return to the UFC in a new weight classes.
“I’m training hard and will be dropping down to fight at 155,” the message reads in a blog posting titled ‘I’m back!’ “I will keep you all posted on the info of the fight! But I promise you all that I will do my best to win.”
The accuracy of the message is less than certain, as the post even begins by stating that the Sanchez MySpace account was hacked last week. Perhaps the real Sanchez is back posting under his identity, or perhaps not?
FiveOuncesOfPain.com attempted to verify the validity of the post, however, multiple attempts to confirm the message with Sanchez’s agents at NCFC Fight Management were unsuccessful.
Sanchez, 19-2, has not competed since an impressive third round TKO victory over retired Marine Luigi Fioravanti this past June during the live season finale for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He had been scheduled to fight Thiago Alves at UFC 90 in October in a match where the winner would be guaranteed a welterweight title shot. However, Sanchez pulled off the card several weeks prior due to injury.
The idea of Sanchez moving to 155 pounds has been rumored in the past but Sanchez has always responded by indicating his home was in the UFC’s welterweight division. It was believed that Sanchez was especially looking forward towards an opportunity at challenging UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. In past interviews, Sanchez has expressed that he felt displaced by St. Pierre while the two were both affiliated with Greg Jackson’s camp out of Albuquerque.
However, a move to lightweight could help boost Sanchez’s stock. After beginning his career 17-0, the veteran from the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” has lost some momentum in his quest to become a world champion. Following his 17th consecutive victory at UFC Fight Night 7 against Joe Riggs in December of 2006, Sanchez proceeded to go winless in his next two fights against Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch. He’s rebounded to go 2-0 since that time, however, wins over Fioravanti and David Bielkheden failed to generate the same type of buzz that surrounded Sanchez during the early part of his career.
Sanchez has been considered on the smallish side for the welterweight division in recent years. And with St. Pierre set to defend the welterweight title vs. UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn at UFC 94 on Jan. 31 and Alves guaranteed the next title shot after that, Sanchez could be waiting a long time for an opportunity to compete for the belt. If Penn defeats St. Pierre in January, he could opt to vacate the lightweight title, which would create a situation where Sanchez could become one of the lightweight division’s marquee attractions.