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Diego Sanchez’s debut at lightweight could come against Joe Stevenson

A matchup between winners from the first and second seasons of The Ultimate Fighter could be in store for UFC 95, according to a report by

Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that former welterweight title contender Diego Sanchez has made a verbal commitment for his first-ever bout in the 155 pound division to come against Joe Stevenson.

Savage adds in his report that bout agreements have yet to be signed. However, if the matchup is finalized, it is expected that it would take place at UFC 95 on Feb. 21 at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Sanchez, 19-2, won the middleweight championship during the first season of TUF after TKO’ing Kenny Florian at 2:49 of round 1. Following the win over Florian, the New Mexico native immediately dropped to welterweight, where he proceeded to go 5-0 until suffering back-to-back losses against Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch at UFCs 69 and 76, respectively.

Since suffering the first two losses of his career, Sanchez has rebounded to go 2-0 with wins over David Bielkheden at UFC 82 and Luigi Fioravanti during the live finale for the seventh season of TUF. However, Sanchez still made the decision last month to leave the welterweight division and make the cut to lightweight.

If the proposed bout with Stevenson becomes official, it would mean an ambitious lightweight debut for Sanchez. Stevenson became the welterweight winner for the second season of TUF after defeating Luke Cummo via unanimous decision during the show’s finale in November of 2005.

Stevenson, 29-9, dropped to lightweight following a unanimous decision loss to Josh Neer at UFC Fight Night 4. He then went on to win his next four bouts while competing at 155 pounds and earned a chance to fight for the vacated UFC lightweight title last January at UFC 80. Facing former UFC welterweight champion B.J. Penn, the experienced Stevenson was still no match, being forced to submit at 4:02 of round 2 in a bloody encounter that saw the 26-year old bleed profusely from the head.

Stevenson rebounded with a second round submission victory over American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau at UFC 86 this past July but he was unable to maintain the momentum, as he suffered a first round submission defeat to Florian last month at UFC 91.

  • 45huddle says:

    Great fight. Stevenson seems on his way down, so this would be a good win for Diego to start off his Lightweight career.

  • matt says:

    Joe needs to get his confidence back. He looked horrible against Gleison, lost to KenFlo, and got anhiliated by BJ. It seems the UFC is trying to kill him. I understand when you are a top tier fighter you don’t get easy fights but something to bounceback with a win would be great.

  • CubanLinx says:

    interesting matchup

  • goodguy says:

    I feel bad for Joe. I don’t think that he will win this fight and I don’t want to see him lose his job in the UFC. I am not a fan of Joe but he does put on a great fight. How can loses to Ken-Flo and B.J. be looked down upon? Tough dudes…

  • freedom fighter says:

    does not matter about either of them they are both afterthoughts,like i said time and time again your next lightweight champ will be ken-flow bj penn will lose to gsp then have to cut weight drop back down and fight florian where he will lose.and as for diego well he was overhyped in the first place koscheck and fitch exposed will florian this time either get better or worse there is no in between.

  • Rich S. says:

    this would be a nice fight, for sure..

    but a loss here would simply CRUSH Joe..

    and after losing to such a simple RNC from Florian, i’m sure he WOULD lose here..

    and, although i’d like to see Diego sprung right into the top of the LW division, i just don’t want to see either of these guys lose right now, and would prefer a match like Sanchez/Bocek, or Sanchez/Tavares or something..

  • dpk says:

    Diego will destroy Joe, unless the cut to 155 takes too much out of him. Why can’t we get Diego v Sherk, I think that is the fight that the majority of people want to see.

  • Robert says:

    Could care less about this potential match up.

  • KTru says:

    yeah Choi versus Cro Cop is way more appealing……

    Great match up here
    Joe “Daddy” is on his way down, eventually becoming another Pulver. A stepping stone for the middle-of-the-pack LWs to take that giant step to the elite.
    I figured Diego would stay in WW, but with the potential BJ victory over GSP (I am not saying it will happen), the road to a title is much easier so I credit Diego looking at the big picture.

  • Voridor says:

    Perfect time to get on Florian to fight Sherk. No other big time fighters in 155 lined up. We all know Kenny wants to avoid this fight against Sherk before his title fight. I think Kenny is the 2008 fighter of the year, but Sherk will pose many problems for him still. Florian dominated his three victories in 08. Lets put the pressure on people!

  • glock says:

    i used to think sanchez was the heir apparent @ ww and one of my favorites to watch. The fight with Nick Diaz was amazing technical action. But then he got too full of himself (always was, I’ve come to learn) and as freedomfighter mentioned got exposed by guys that kept improving or had styles and tools he had trouble with.

    i would have liked to have seen him fight GSP when he was kinda peaking, now i kinda want him to go away. The 155’s are SOOO deep w/ talent,and guys that deserve their shot at their 15 minutes, who needs him? he needs a major attitude adjustment.

    Though that being said, I’d REALLY like to see him in with melvin guillard……A guy that seems like his attitude adjustment is actually taking place.

  • BigDave says:

    Lets face it this is a make or break fight for both these dudes. either guy needs to win and be spectacular in doing so to stay in the ufc. 155 is just way to deep for these guys to do anything but be far improved over what they have done recently. All that being said I dont think Joe has the mental copacity to be able to win this fight, his head hasnt been in the game for over a year now. as for deigo he has definatly got the talent and lets not forget he is a young guy still. does his attitude need work? definatly, does he need to be more dedicated to improving the areas of his game that arent up to par? of course. If deigo is smart he will come out and end this fight quick cause lets face it this should be a cakewalk joe isnt a fighter anymore and needs to leave before he get hurt bad.


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