Diego Sanchez didn’t emerge victorious at UFC 166, but he was able to improve his standing with MMA fans – and the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s matchmakers – with his relentless aggression during his Oct. 19 tilt against Gilbert Melendez at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
It was a much needed popularity boost for Sanchez, considering the fact he wasn’t particular impressive during his previous bout against Takanori Gomi. Diego was awarded with a split decision after the fight, but many felt Gomi should have gotten the nod.
Thanks to his redeeming performance against Melendez, Sanchez is now in a position to cajole UFC matchmakers into setting up fights he wants.
Sanchez’s next target? Nate Diaz.
“Im thinking maybe nate diaz for the next fight would be a epic 5 rounder,” Sanchez tweeted on Oct. 22. “People can not deny my wrestling skills @155 out wrestling gil is a statement almost had chokes too…. im here to stay.”
Diaz (16-9-0, 11 submissions), who is coming off a TKO loss to Josh Thomson, is currently set to square up against Gray Maynard on Nov. 30, at “The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale.” And it would make a lot of sense to put him in against Sanchez (24-6-0, 9 submissions) a few months after his bout against Maynard.
The two “Ultimate Fighter” winners have very aggressive styles (grappling and striking wise), rarely ever moving backwards during fights, with well-rounded skills to go with it. Neither man particularly minds getting hit, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that Nate vs. Diego would indeed be an “epic” bout as “The Ultimate Fighter” season one middleweight winner stated.
Factor in Diego and Diaz’ propensity for taunting opponents during fights, and it becomes obvious just how entertaining a headliner featuring these two could turn out to be. At the very least, it would be just as good as Diego’s 2005 showdown against Nate’s older brother, Nick Diaz.
Given the above, it would be surprising if UFC matchmakers don’t take Diego up on his suggestion since Diaz vs. Sanchez is clearly one of the most intriguing matchups that can be made in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division right now.
It’s the perfect headliner for a free card, the type of fight that would draw in new fans.