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UFC Quick Quote: Diego Sanchez is the 'Cinderella Man'

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Photo of Diego Sanchez by Dave Mandel via
Photo of Diego Sanchez by Dave Mandel via

"I love to watch that movie Cinderella Man. He comes from the top and he goes to the bottom and he makes it back up to the top. I just kind of see myself as a guy like him. Before I was just fighting for my own selfish goals. I had the goal of being champion, and that's fine; that was my dream. Now I have better reasons to train harder, to fight harder. It's not just me anymore. I have my wife, my son; it's a lot more. I feel like I'm a grizzly bear protecting the cubs. ... I'm just going to fight my hardest. I'm going to fight with all my heart. I'm going to leave it all in the cage."

-- UFC welterweight contender Diego Sanchez talks with USA Today and during the course of the conversation reveals that he seems himself as a modern day version of "The Cinderella Man," James Braddock, inspired by his repeated watching of the 2005 movie release of the same name. Braddock, of course, was a heavyweight boxer who saw his career fall to pieces thanks to injury. However, he managed to battle back through hard times during the Great Depression to win the heavyweight title despite being a 10-to-1 underdog. How does Sanchez relate to all this? He had a similar fall from grace not so long ago. He reached the pinnacle of the sport when he was given a title shot against B.J. Penn but he was absolutely destroyed in that fight. The toll it took on him, not just physically but mentally, resulted in his hitting rock bottom, as he put it. He was apparently scammed out of $175,000 and deep in debt with nowhere to turn. But he's slowly scratched and clawed his way out of that hole and is now on a two-fight winning streak. A victory over Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FUEL TV 1 next Wed., Feb. 15, 2012, surely puts him high up the 170-pound ladder. Maybe he won't finish the story like Braddock by upsetting the dominant division champion but at the very least he's climbed out of the doldrums to become a success story. Right?

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