On the heels of back-to-back losses to Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166 and Myles Jury at UFC 171, Diego Sanchez needs a win in a bad way.
It won't be an easy task, as "The Dream" looks to pick up the all important "W" in front of his hometown crowd against a streaking Ross Pearson in the co-main event of this weekend's (Sat., June 7, 2014) UFC Fight Night 42 event in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Declaring he feels the best he's ever felt, Diego is thankful to have a quick turnaround, something he was hoping for as soon as he knew that UFC was finally going to make its Albuquerque debut.
As he revealed on "The MMA Hour," Sanchez was willing to take on anyone at any weight class just to earn a spot on the card.
"I had my UFC 171 fallout, I didn't have a very good showing and I'm not even going to to into the details because people are saying that I'm making excuses and stuff because I had food poisoning, but I did. People who really know the sport, they watch my fight with Gilbert Melendez and then you watch my fight with Myles Jury and you can tell that those are not the two (same) men out there. One man is faster with explosiveness, more energy. The other guy is just like, 'oh shit.' Now, all I want to do is get in the cage and show people my real, true capability because that wasn't me that night. Then I get back home and eight days after my fight, my manager calls me up and he's like, 'don't tell anybody this, but UFC is coming to Albuquerque.' So, I'm like 'oh my God, I got to get on this card,' Right away I started training. Thank God I'm a very fast healer, my cuts already started to heal and I went to a couple of doctors and got two releases. I told Joe Silva, 'I know not many people are going to want to fight me in my hometown at high altitude.' That's a hard fight for anybody. because they're going to be sucking for air against a guy who puts a high pace. I told Silva that I had to be on the card. I don't care, I told him to find me someone and that I didn't care and that I would fight at 185, 170, 155 or 145. I don't care, just find me somebody and I will fight anybody on the roster. Bring him to Albuquerque and I will fight him. He was pumped and trying to find me an opponent for a good month, and thank God for Ross. He's the real deal and he stepped up and he's a warrior that comes to fight. He's pumped, he wants to make some money and have a good fight."
While his "Fight of the Night" performance against "El Nino" at UFC 166 showed an energetic Sanchez trading shots against a former world champion, never backing down for one second, his fight against Jury at UFC 171 was a bit more slow paced.
Jury picked Diego apart for three rounds (video), as Diego simply couldn't pop off any offense of his own. But according to Sanchez, it was the food poisoning he caught the night before that's to blame, seeing as how he had no nutrition in his system, throwing up repeatedly the day of the fight.
But as he heads into his "Fight Night" showdown against "Real Deal," Sanchez promised to bring back "The Nightmare" of old. Not that he intends to throw caution to the wind and swing haymakers all night, he just intends to push the pace and take it to Pearson -- ala Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva -- in an effort to wear him down and pick up the win.
The high altitude won't do the visiting Pearson any favors, either, as Diego looks to take advantage of the climate he's accustomed to.
Can Diego get back on the winning track and end Pearson's two-fight winning streak in the process?