Forget about brawling, winner of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Diego Sanchez is getting back to his wrestling roots, which have been, for the most part, non-existent over the course of the last few years.
That's because "The Nightmare," as he's used to being called, preferred to stand and trade over grinding on his opponent, then getting them down to the mat. While Sanchez has been entertaining, that strategy hasn't been paying off in the win column.
The Jackson-Wink MMA representative is 1-3 in his last four fights and would be 0-4 had it none been for a bizarre split-decision handed to him in a contest with fellow TUF alum Ross Pearson. Sanchez is in a must-win situation tonight (Sat., March 5, 2016) at UFC 196 as he clashes with battle-tested Jim Miller on the Fight Pass "Prelims" portion of the card.
Sanchez talks about the fight and the desperate times with MMA Fighting:
"Diego Sanchez, without his wrestling, is not a confident man. If I'm not confident in my wrestling, because I've been trying to evolve into a striker too much, then I'm not Diego Sanchez. This time, I've come full circle. I'm ready to strike, I'm ready to wrestle and I'm just ready to fight. This is going to be seven times better than the best Diego Sanchez anybody has ever seen. I'm going to be five steps ahead of Jim Miller. This is the return of the nightmare, for real."
Perhaps what will be most beneficial to his health -- and skill-set -- will be the fact that he competes at 155 pounds now, as opposed to his last fight at featherweight, which proved to be too steep of a cut to make.
The one-time middleweight Sanchez faces a difficult test in the New Jersey native Miller, who is bringing everything in his toolbox to dispatch of him. Miller's best weapon is his ground and pound, which he will undoubtedly look to implement following a takedown.
We all know how bloody Sanchez is prone to getting.
Miller will also be hard-pressed to get a win as he's the owner of a 1-3 slide, with losses to foes like Michael Cheisa and Donald Cerrone in that span.
On that note, we're just a mere several hours away from watching these "Performance of the Night" bonus machines lay it all on the line.
Get your popcorn ready.