Pictured: Takanori Gomi - Koki Nagahama
Life at welterweight wasn't exactly a "Dream" for Diego Sanchez, but will it be a "Nightmare" when he returns to 155 pounds to try to extinguish "The Fireball Kid" next March in Japan?
Go Diego, go!
Turns out Diego Sanchez wasn't kidding when he recently teased a return to lightweight at next year's UFC on FUEL TV 8 event, where he'll meet Takanori Gomi on the main card of the promotion's return to the "Land of the Rising Sun" on March 3, 2013 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
It's officially official!
Sanchez (23-5) has struggled to find his identity after winning the inaugural "Ultimate Fighter." Despite stringing together six straight wins at welterweight, including unanimous decisions over Nick Diaz and Karo Parisyan, "The Dream" suffered consecutive losses to Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch.
He found a new home at 155 pounds shortly thereafter.
After back-to-back wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida, Sanchez was finished off by B.J. Penn in their lightweight title fight at UFC 107 in Dec. 2009. Morally defeated, the Greg Jackson-product moved back up with mixed results, going 2-2 and dropping a unanimous decision to Jake Ellenberger last February.
But he's not alone in his struggles.
Gomi (34-8), once considered the top fighter in his weight class, was unable to re-capture the magic he had in his PRIDE days, stumbling in Sengoku as early as 2008 prior to his Octagon debut. His UFC run has been mediocre at best, going 3-3 over the last two and a half years.
Has the Kugayama Rascal turned a corner?
"The Fireball Kid" has been able to win consecutive fights for the first time under the ZUFFA banner. After turning the lights out on Eiji Mitsuoka at UFC 144, Gomi was able to slip past Mac Danzig via split decision at UFC on FUEL TV 6 just last month in Macao.
Will this fight be a "Nightmare" for him in Japan?
UFC on FUEL TV 8 will be headlined by a light heavyweight BANGFEST featuring former PRIDE slugger Wanderlei Silva taking on power-punching war hero Brian Stann. Mark Hunt is also expected to return to action overseas by trading leather opposite Stefan Struve.
For all the latest and greatest UFC on FUEL TV 8 news and notes click here.