When Diego Sanchez enters the Octagon to face Michael Chiesa to kick off the UFC 239 main card, he will be fulfilling the final fight of his UFC contract, and Sanchez has every intent of entering the negotiating table in a position of power and not perfunctorily signing his name on the dotted line (Transcript via MMA Junkie):
“This my last fight on my contract, and Sean Shelby tried to get me to sign some more, and that’s all great. I’ve been doing that for 17 years,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie Radio. “Now I’m finally in that position to put myself in a point of leverage, and I value myself very high. I’m a pioneer, I’m a legend, I’m a Hall of Famer now.
“A lot of years on the shelf, hard work, blood, sweat, tears, everything for the company,” Sanchez added. “Company man, the definition of a company man. Go to war for this company, a warrior.
“After this fight is over, the UFC bank is going to have to pay out, too, because I’m going to find out what my value is,” Sanchez said. “If I have to find out in Bellator or in other organization, I want to see.”
Diego Sanchez is not one to look too distant into the future, however. And his legendary gaze is now fixated on the target in front of him: fellow UFC veteran Michael Chiesa. And if Chiesa believes that Sanchez has one foot out of the UFC or MMA door, Sanchez looks forward to slamming those thoughts to the canvas Saturday night:
“I’m not the old man Michael Chiesa thinks I am,” Sanchez said. “He thinks he’s fighting an old man, and that’s why he wanted that fight so bad, but he’s fighting a real man. He’s going to find out on Saturday that the little fight with Mickey Gall was just a tuneup. I was just finally starting to get my stride, barely getting out of my divorce, barely getting back on track. Things are full stride now.
“I know I love fighting and that I have more passion and corazon for this sport than any other fighter in the UFC that ever stepped in the octagon,” Sanchez scontinued. “I’m going to let everyone in the UFC, everyone in the world and in the universe know my value come Saturday night.”
Who do you predict will win at UFC 238? Diego Sanchez or Michael Chiesa?