After a decisive defeat at the hands of 22-year-old rising star John Hathaway
in his return to the welterweight division at UFC 114
, it's back to the drawing board for Diego Sanchez
Sanchez's next move is anyone's guess, but UFC President Dana White
has his own opinion, and he believes that the onetime lightweight No. 1 contender belongs in the 155-pound division.
"I don't think Diego belongs at 170," he said. "I think it's easier to be at 170. He looked soft."
Sanchez actually entered the UFC five years ago as a middleweight, winning the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, but quickly dropped down to welterweight upon the completion of the season. After a strong run in the division, Sanchez made the decision to move to the UFC's lightest weight class in hopes of challenging then-champion B.J. Penn. After two wins, he got that opportunity, but was routed by Penn in a fifth-round TKO loss last December.
Against Hathaway, Sanchez struggled to mount any offense, and spent much of the fight in survival mode after being nearly finished in the first.
It sounded like White's view was cemented by watching the third round of the bout. Like many, he expected the usually aggressive Sanchez to swarm Hathaway in the final round in hopes of stealing the decision. The attack never came.
"He looked real lethargic and slow and heavy," he said. "[One] fifty-five, Diego. Fifty-five."
Though White said he has his own opinion of what would be for Sanchez's future, he added that he doesn't often directly try to influence a fighter on what he thinks would be the best path. After two straight losses, it sounds like Sanchez has a decision to make.
"He's a tough guy," he said. "I'm not his manager, but I think he should stay at 155. Listen, a loss to B.J. Penn doesn't mean you go back up to 170. It means you stay at 155 and you do what Kenny Florian did. You stay in there and keep grinding it out and beating the top guys, and you get back in line and work your way up to the top again. Diego does not look good at 170."