Sanchez (23-5) is slated to fight Takanori Gomi (34-8) March 3 at UFC on FUEL TV 8 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The fight will air 10 p.m. eastern time on March 2 in the United States.
Fighting in Japan is a dream come true for The Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight winner. Sanchez has been dreaming of fighting in Japan for 11 years. Before Sanchez appeared in TUF, he dreamed about fighting in the Japanese mixed martial arts organization Pride FC. But when Pride FC was sold in 2007 to Zuffa, which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Sanchez thought that his dream wouldn’t become a reality. Fortunately for him, he was wrong.
“Even before I was in the UFC and before ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ I always had a dream of having a fight where fighting was most prominent in PRIDE,” Sanchez said at the press conference. “It was something that I always dreamed of doing and it was like, my career kept going and going and going and I’m like, ‘I guess I’m never going to make it out there.’”
Sanchez will finally accomplish his dream – after waiting almost a decade – of fighting in Japan against Japan’s Gomi.
“So, when I decided to make the move back to 155 pounds, I looked at the opponents and I figured, you know, what’s a better opportunity than to come out here to Japan, live one of my dreams and fight one of the greatest fighters to come out of Japan in his own hometown,” Sanchez said. “That’s a perfect situation for war and a great battle and that’s what I live for and that’s what I came out here to do is to give the fans and the company and everybody a great showing and a great performance.”
This fight will be Sanchez’s return to the lightweight division. In his last fight at lightweight, Sanchez lost to then lightweight champion B.J. Penn in 2009 via doctor stoppage at 2 minutes and 37 seconds in the fifth round. This fight will also be Sanchez’s return after a yearlong hiatus in the Octagon. He lost via unanimous decision to welterweight Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FUEL TV 1 in February 2012.
Sanchez yearlong absence could be an obstacle for him against Gomi. Gomi is on a two-fight win streak with wins over Mac Danzig and Eiji MitsuokaTags: diego sanchez, mma, MMA NEWS, takanori gomi, ufc, ufc news, UFC on Fuel, ufc on fuel tv, ufc on fuel tv 8