After coming up short against BJ Penn in his Dec. 12 bid for the 155-pound crown, Diego Sanchez (21-3) will make his return to the welterweight division opposite John Hathaway at the upcoming UFC 114 pay-per-view from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, May 29.
The "Nightmare" tweeted the good news earlier today.
After capturing the first ever Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Championship in April 2005, Sanchez went on to win his next five fights in the crowded 170-pound division. Unfortunately his former TUF nemesis, Josh Koscheck, derailed his title aspirations with a unanimous decision win in a bizarre battle of striking at UFC 69: "Shootout."
Sanchez would drop two straight when "Kos" buddy Jon Fitch outworked him en route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 76: "Knockout" just a few months later. Despite two more wins as a welterweight, "Nightmare" decided his frame would be better served by dropping down to the land of the lightweights.
The move seemed to pay off, as he went 2-0 against the venerable Joe Stevenson and the always-dangerous Clay Guida. Unfortunately BJ Penn was not impressed with his performance, making Sanchez pay with a grisly assault that saw the fight halted after four-plus rounds of abuse.
Refusing to play gatekeeper, Sanchez is back to the division he called home for most of his career.
But don't expect a warm welcome from the talented Brit.
Hathaway has been unstoppable through twelve fights. After spot-welding his elbows to the face of Tom Egan in his Octagon debut, "The Hitman" outpointed Ricky Story and Paul Taylor in the mid-to-latter part of 2009.
The six-foot-two fight phenom is considered one of the brighter prospects in the welterweight class and could vault himself into the upper tier of his division with a convincing win over Sanchez.
This has "Fight of the Night" written all over it.
UFC 114 will feature the long overdue light heavyweight grudge match between bitter rivals and former TUF 10 coaches "Suga'" Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Also penciled in for the main card is a lightweight scrap between Efrain "Hencho en Mexico" Escudero and Cole "Magrinho" Miller.
Keep it locked in to MMAmania for future updates to this still-developing fight card.