("BJ Penn‘s not the lightweight champion anymore? You’re *sure*? How sure are you?")
After getting completely handled by John Hathaway in his welterweight return at UFC 114, we were a little surprised to learn Diego Sanchez would be giving 170 another shot against Paulo Thiago, an opponent who’s arguably even more dangerous than Hathaway. Who knows what’s going on in that crazy mind of his from day to day, but we do know that the Nightmare vows to drop back to lightweight after Saturday. As he told UFC.com:
"…just for the record, I do plan on dropping back to 155 after this fight. Me and Greg (Jackson) and the team are just gonna work together and see what (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) can get lined up for me…For now I think [the move is] basically gonna be permanent, but that all depends because I feel like I can fight in both weight classes. There’s 125, 135, 145, 155 — I wish we had a 165 and a 175 (pound division). That would make it a lot easier for me because I could fight 165, but we don’t have that yet and I’ve got to make a decision.
So now it’s 170, after this fight I’m gonna get down to 155 again, try to make a title run, and there will be time later down the road where I can make something happen at 170. For right now, I’ve got my mind set on beating Paulo Thiago, but I am looking to the future and seeing my drop back down to 155."
Coming off of lopsided defeats to BJ Penn and Hathaway, Sanchez needs to keep in mind that a bad loss to Thiago would be three in a row, and there would be no guarantee that the UFC would keep him around long enough to let him re-re-invent himself back at lightweight. Of course, losing three in a row is not necessarily a guarantee that your contract will be shredded — see Keith Jardine, Mac Danzig, and Dan Miller — but if Sanchez gets blown out in a welterweight fight that the UFC didn’t want for him in the first place, he could be in danger. But on the bright side, Bellator could always use another scrappy Mexican lightweight to feed to Eddie Alvarez…