After leaving Team Jackson and trainer Greg Jackson, Diego Sanchez suffered his first professional mixed martial arts loss and dropped two in a row. Now, acclimated to his new training environment, Sanchez defeated Luigi Fioravanti at The Ultimate Fighter 7 live finale and has reeled off back-to-back victories. "The Nightmare" appears refocused and is eyeing Ultimate Fighting Championship gold.
"Coming off these two wins now, I feel like I'm back on track," said Sanchez. "The two losses came with perfect timing. To be honest, if I wouldn't have had those loses I maybe would have gone on to become the champion, but the timing wouldn't have been right. Now I feel the timing is right to go and become the champion and hold the belt. That's what every fighter wants to do, become the champion and stay the champion."
Admittedly, Sanchez got caught up in the celebrity lifestyle after winning The Ultimate Fighter Spike TV reality series' debut season. "With fame and money, a lot of distraction comes," explained Sanchez. "For me, the limelight was so huge after winning the show and continuing to win, the win streak that I was on. After all of that was over with and I had my loses, just because I lost, the limelight went away and I understood why I'm in this business for, and it's not the limelight. It's to fight."
The refocused and revitalized Sanchez was asked where he fits into the UFC welterweight division. The Ultimate Fighter turned contender commented, "Me and my team and my management, we have gone over every possible situation in the 170 pound division. It all depends on what happens in the upcoming fights, honestly. We've got GSP (Georges St. Pierre) who is stating that he's going up to 185. Me and (Jon) Fitch was an excellent, close fight. It came down to game plan. I was not hurt once in the fight. It was just a technical points match."
"There's also AKA (American Kickboxing Academy), Team AKA," he further stated. "You've got (Mike) Swick, (Josh) Koscheck and you've got Fitch. They're not going to fight each other, so that right there throws a little something in there."
"So GSP leaves, what happens? B.J. Penn has stated he wanted to fight GSP. Now GSP is leaving. There's a lot of stuff that's going to happen," said the New Mexico native. "I'm just waiting. I'm ready to fight whoever they put in front of me. I want the title shot."
"I've stated I wanted rematches with Fitch and Koscheck. That's the past. I've let it go. I look forward to rematching them some day, maybe. If it happens, if it gets put in my path, I'm ready for that. I have my sight on one thing, and that's UFC gold."