Tomorrow night, the UFC will take over “Music City,” Nashville, Tennessee, with an action packed night of fights. One of the most exciting of these fights will occur in the co-main event, when The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez takes on Al Iaquinta, who will be returning to the Octagon after a contract dispute with the UFC.
Though Iaquinta has not been seen in the cage for some time, he remains one of the top lightweights in the UFC, and as such, a tough test for the veteran Sanchez. Speaking to MMAJunkie.com in advance of this fight, Sanchez has assured that he plans to pass this test, and catapult himself up the lightweight rankings.
“IT’S A HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO FIGHT A GUY WHO IS COMING IN ON A FOUR-FIGHT WIN STREAK,” THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 1 VETERAN SAID. “HE HAS SOME GOOD MOMENTUM BEHIND HIM REGARDLESS OF IF HE’S TAKEN TWO YEARS OFF. HE HAS UFC MOMENTUM. HE CARRIES, I BELIEVE, THE THIRD HIGHEST WIN STREAK IN THE LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION, AND THIS IS JUST THE PERFECT FIGHT FOR ME TO STEP UP AND JUMP UP THE LADDER, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I’M HERE TO DO. I’M HERE TO JUMP THE LADDER. I’M NOT TRYING TO CLIMB THE LADDER, I’M TRYING TO JUMP THE LADDER.”
As far as how he plans to deal with Iaquinta’s many skills, Sanchez says he plans to approach this fight like he approaches all his fights: with a kill or be killed mentality.
“THE FEELING GOING INTO THIS FIGHT IS THE SAME AS IT ALWAYS IS: FIGHT THIS FIGHT LIKE IT’S MY LAST,” SANCHEZ SAID. “THAT’S BEEN PROVEN TO BE ONE OF THE FORMULATIONS TO MY SUCCESS AND MY LONGEVITY AND A LONG CAREER IN THE UFC, IS I FIGHT EVERY FIGHT LIKE IT’S MY LAST. THERE’S BEEN SOME IN THE PAST THAT I’VE MESSED UP AND NOT DONE THAT. NOW I LOOK TO GO IN THERE AND KILL OR BE KILLED.”
Do you think Diego Sanchez can spring the upset on the returning Al Iaquinta this weekend? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 4/21/2017.