“Gilbert Melendez is my golden ticket. I’ve done it before. I fought two fights in 2009 at 155. Straight to the belt.
“(Melendez) has never been stopped. He avenged two of his three losses. His only loss is to Benson Henderson in a split decision that I felt went his way, so in a way I’m fighting a guy who’s almost untainted. And if I go in there, and I stop this guy, I think it makes a real case for a title shot.
“He’s a more well-rounded fighter than Anthony Pettis. I have a lot of respect for the champ, but I don’t see him lasting long in this division. I see him eventually losing his belt and making the drop to 145 to become a multiple weight division champion. The bottom line is, guys are big. Guys are getting big. There’s guys like me, I’m may be walking into the cage at 180 on Saturday night.
“My goal is to be the best 155-pounder in the world,” Sanchez said. “I always made excuses that I wasn’t a 155-pounder, that I was stuck in between 170 and 155, that we needed a 165-pound weight class. I was always adjusting and going back and forth, and creating more difficulties in my training. Well now I just accepted that I have to do extra to be a 155-pounder. I have to work harder on my nutrition. I have to contain my weight at a certain weight. I can’t let myself blow back up after fights. I’ve just embraced the fact that I am a 155-pounder.
“The bottom line is, Gilbert and me, we used to train together. He knows what I’m capable of when I’m on-point. There was times where we were sparring and I’d be getting the better of the round.
“I don’t know if he’s banking that my time has passed me by, but I’m fully recovered from my injuries and this is going to be a fresh start in the 155-pound division.”
During yesterday’s media event, former UFC lightweight title challenger, Diego Sanchez, set his expectations high for his second stint at 155.
Diego is set to face Gilbert Melendez this weekend on the pay-per-view portion of ‘UFC 166: Velasquez vs. dos Santos’