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02-08-2008, 11:34 AM
Status: Hows that working for ya?
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Elmhurst, IL
| | Diego talks GSP, 155 and more.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Diego thank you for taking the time to speak with us at MMAmania. Letís start with UFC 82. Tell us how you ended up fighting newcomer David Bielkheden? |
Diego Sanchez: Heís the one who stepped up to the plate. Joe Silva called everybody he could and nobody wanted to take the fight with me. I think itís well known that Iím a very dangerous fighter - maybe even more so amongst the fighters.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Since pounding out Brian Gassaway at UFC 54 back in 2005, five of your last six fights have gone to a decision. How important is it to you - especially as a fighter who wants to keep the reputation of being dangerous - to finish a fight?
Diego Sanchez: Itís very important to me. But fifteen minutes is not a lot of time and there are so many factors that can influence the outcome. Those fights were also very tough match-ups. You had Karo Parisyan, Nick Diaz who is as tough a dude as there is, these are tough guys and sometimes it goes to a decision no matter what. Some guys have styles that make them very hard to finish.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): But you didnít have that problem against Joe Riggs.
Diego Sanchez: Thatís the only KO of my career but man it felt good.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You mentioned your opponentís styles. Critics have accused you of having an identity crisis inside the Octagon. Tell us how you transition from ground Ďn pound coming out of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) show to strictly boxing against Koscheck to jiu-jitsu against Jon Fitch.
Diego Sanchez: Iím evolving as a mixed martial artist. I have to evolve at a higher speed than my opponents in order to be a world champion. I may have had two bumps in the road but make no mistake about it Iím here to be the world champion. Iím learning man, just like everybody else. Iím training now under guys like Saulo Ribeiro and Rickson Gracie, legends in this sport. Training in the Gi has totally taken me to another level.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): But you did go into the Koscheck fight with the intention of keeping it standing? Did the Riggs KO have any influence on that decision?
Diego Sanchez: I wanted to knock out Koscheck but I was sick and I wasnít myself. That fight was a nightmare. My mind wasnít there and most people who know me know that I wasnít there for that fight. He didnít even do anything. He tried to throw some punches so that he could score his points and get out of there. He was too scared to try and finish me. Throw some punches, score some points and retreat. He could have tried to engage like Karo. Look at the Karo fight and see what happens when two guys try to finish each other the whole fight. You get fight of the year.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): For a guy who is known for exciting fights, how hard was it to hear the fans boo the end of your fight with Koscheck?
Diego Sanchez: That being my first loss was difficult enough to deal with, but I did try and look at it in a positive way. It humbled me and I had to learn from it. I was starting to lose my way. I was enjoying the lifestyle a little too much. I would collect my paycheck and then go off and do some traveling. I would go to Miami and party and meet different people. Thatís not what a champion does and thatís not what got me here. Thatís not me but I got sucked into it. It was nice, I was living the dream, but then I realized wait a minute Iím not the champion. I have unfinished business inside the Octagon. My career is not over yet.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Explain the motivation behind the Koscheck shove at the weigh-ins for UFC 69. Was it mind games or do you just flat-out hate the guy?
Diego Sanchez: Me and Koscheck have personal issues. He was talking mess to my family, doing whatever he could to get a rematch with me. It worked because he pissed me off. I didnít need the fight but Dana approached me about it and I took it.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): And after that you had your second loss to Jon Fitch. Iíll bet that didnít help ease any of the pain from loss #1.
Diego Sanchez: My life was in transition then. I changed teams, I changed camps, my training was different, my drills were different, everything changed. I still went into the fight and attacked. I may have had the wrong strategy. I probably should have kept it standing more but I was always going for the finish. He held position. He didnít once try to pass my guard or do any kind of damage. He hit me with two punches and glancing hammer fists. If the guys over at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) are happy with just squeaking out these wins then let them have it. To me winning with as little effort as possible is nothing to be proud of. If you want to be proud, be proud of a war - win or lose.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): So you feel that the Fitch strategy was like the Koscheck strategy? Score enough points to get the win and go home?
Diego Sanchez: Exactly! He didnít do anything. He wasnít in one position to finish me and he hit me with no clean shots. He couldnít even pass my guard! Where are the points? In his lay Ďn pray? I donít understand the judges sometimes, itís like they donít understand jiu-jitsu but I guess holding top position is all it takes. I knew they were giving it to him but all I can do is accept it and move on. I give Fitch credit for the win because he is strong but he also taught me that I need to be stronger too. I need to get back to weightlifting and work on my power.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): So having said that we can assume you plan to stay at 170lbs indefinitely?
Diego Sanchez: Oh yeah, Iíll never go down to 155. I did consider it but itís hard because my true weight class for my body type would be 163. Iím too big for 155. If I made that drop I would have to sacrifice too much muscle. Right now Iím walking around at 177, but a very lean 177. I was very real with myself after the Jon Fitch fight and I knew that I had to make these adjustments.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Can losing a high profile match or back-to-back matches make a fighter question whether or not he belongs in a certain weight class?
Diego Sanchez: I donít know, I think it depends on the way that you lose. Look at some of these other guys getting their jaw knocked into the fifth row. You have this guy who is supposed to be unbeatable, an MMA God and Matt Serra went in there and knocked him around.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): That tone leaves me with the impression that youíre not entirely sold on GSPís immortality.
Diego Sanchez: Oh no. You know what? I respect him, heís a great warrior who is very strong, but I donít fear him like some of the other guys at 170. Heís just a man. I could have went down to 155 to avoid him but my dream started at 170 and Iím gonna see it through. Heís out at my old camp now.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Heís now with Greg Jackson and youíre not. Based on what youíve said thus far Iíll assume thatís more than just a coincidence?
Diego Sanchez: I have so much respect for the Jackson camp. Keith Jardine, Nate Marquardt, all those guys, theyíre still my boys. My loyalty was very strong. But GSP could have gone to any camp he wanted. He knew that place was my home, my dream. That took a little something out of my heart. Heís training in the cage that I bled in, that I sweat in and cried in.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Did you feel pushed aside when he arrived?
Diego Sanchez: Put yourself there for a minute. Youíre an undefeated fighter coming off two of the biggest wins of your career (Parisyan/Riggs). Now theyíre bringing in the champion of your weight class to train with your guys? For three months I was telling Greg that my heart wasnít feeling it. Greg kept telling me ďTrust me, trust me, you guys are going to make each other the bestĒ but I kept feeling like their true intentions were to make me go down to 155. I mean most of the Jackson fighters cut a lot of weight and thatís not me. I wasnít going to do it. I wasnít bowing down to Georges St. Pierre. I ainít riding nobodyís coattails. Iím Diego Sanchez and just because I had two decision losses - one while I was sick and one controversial to a top five welterweight - does not mean that Iím gonna give up on my dream, my dream to be welterweight champion. Maybe me and GSP will throw down in Albuquerque somewhere in the future. Dana told me there is going to be a show in Albuquerque. I donít want to fight him unless itís for the title. I want him for five rounds.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): What would you do to prepare for that fight?
Diego Sanchez: The way GSP destroyed Matt Hughes I said to myself the only way Iím gonna beat this guy is to outwork him. I have something in my heart that he doesnít have. Maybe he has something that I donít, but you know what? Thatís what weíre gonna put against each other in the ring. I just pray that itís a five round fight. I donít want it to be about points. I want him to be the champion at the time and have to fight me for five rounds. Believe me if Koscheck and Fitch had to go five rounds things would have been different. Iíll never get tired. Itís genetic with me, all in my DNA. Iím here to fight.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Assuming youíre able to get past David Bielkheden at UFC 82, whatís next for Diego Sanchez?
Diego Sanchez: I want a rematch with Koscheck. Iíve already talked to Dana about it and he understands my situation. Dana and I talk about this stuff. He was ready to announce my retirement after the first fight because of the Hepatitis test. That was scary. I thought my career was over. I had no back-up plan.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You donít seem to be in any hurry to fight for the title. Is that by choice? Take us back to Fight Night 7. You KO Joe Riggs and have an undefeated record including 6-0 in the UFC. Why then does the UFC present Koscheck? Why not fight for title contention?
Diego Sanchez: Iíve never been in a rush for a title shot. Iím still improving, especially in my striking. Itís all good. When Joe Silva and the UFC say itís time to fight for the title then itís time.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Would you consider yourself a top five welterweight?
Diego Sanchez: Of course man! Who else is there? GSP, Matt Serra, Matt HughesÖ
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Do you put Fitch up there?
Diego Sanchez: Yeah, of course, even though he didnít do anything to me! Who else after that? Itís not BJ Penn, heís a lightweight.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Koscheck?
Diego Sanchez: Yeah, I guess then Koscheck.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): As a TUF pioneer, how do you rate the recent crop of fighters to come from the show? Has the quality gone down or have the standards gone up?
Diego Sanchez: Thatís a hard question to answer. There are some good fighters coming through, but for season one they had to take mostly real fighters, pros. If the quality has gone down itís not by much.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How do you want to be remembered as a fighter?
Diego Sanchez: As one of the most exciting fighters ever. A fighter who always pushes the pace. Most of all I want to be remembered as a champion. Iíve never had this kind of focus. Iím grown up now and ready to win.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): And your relationship with Ali Sonoma?
Diego Sanchez: Oh man weíre in the deepest love ever. Sheís truly the one who helped me grow up. Once you fall in love you settle down. Weíre better than ever. We rushed into an engagement but that was the la-la land part of the relationship. We know weíre going to get married someday but we both have to take care of our business first. We totally back each other. Sheís awesome.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): When youíre not training and not fighting what do you do?
Diego Sanchez: Snowboarding. Itís my passion. Itís the only thing that gets me off more than fighting. But Iím a calm snowboarder now. I just kind of cruise down the mountain. I donít hit the 780ís or half-pipes anymore. Dana would kill me if I got hurt. Now itís just for meditative purposes.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Diego thank you for taking the time to speak with us at MMAmania and we wish you the best of luck at UFC 82.
Diego Sanchez: Thank you!
Diego is way too cocky for my taste not to mention a fucking certified strange ranger.
02-08-2008, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
i dislike Diego as much as anyone, but he did make a good point about the Fitch fight...he was never hurt by Fitch. but at the same time, he never hurt Fitch either, and the fight basically boiled down to the ground. Fitch fighting off the submissions and maintaining top control won him the fight...it was very close.
i wouldnt be surprised to see Diego win his next few fights to be honest.
__________________ "For years Iíve underestimated Tim Sylvia. This time I think Iím gonna be in the minority and pick Tim and his long right hand. Come to think of it, I am a minority." - Din Thomas predicts Sylvia to beat Fedor
Favorite Fighters: Penn, Rampage, Tito, Couture, Guida, GSP, Mayhem, Varner, Mir, Torres
13-6-1 in AV/SIG bets
02-08-2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
he had staph in the Koscheck fight, and the standard physical came out positive for hepatitis, apparently.
then he had a huge fuckin' hole in his leg after the fight, so they knew it was staph, so he doesnt have to retire
i enjoyed this interview. Diego isn't being cocky, i think. its the confidence of a fighter, he better think he can beat anyone if he's fuckin' top 5.
GSP would clean his clock, but he's right. he's just a man, and anyone who actually would get offended by what he said is a ridiculous nuthugger.
although i thought Fitch did win, he was right. all he did was hold top position and not land clean shots, and defend Diego's submissions and sweeps. but he had control, and it was a stalemate, and everyone knows you dont let that shit go to the judges.
even though he's a weird dude, i have a lot of respect for Diego as a fighter, because he always brings it, he's always in shape, and he never quits
HW: Cro Cop | Barnett | Gonzaga
LHW: Rampage| Shogun
MW: KANG | Sakuraba | Spider Silva | Baroni | Akiyama
WW: Thiago Alves | GSP | Mach
LW: Gomi | BJ Penn | Aoki | Jamie Varner reppin' AZCS | DIDA
9-7 in sig/av bets
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