The last time Diego Sanchez fought for the UFC, he weighed in at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds. But when he fights Joe Stevenson on February 21 at UFC 95, he's moving to lightweight, which means he'll have to get down to 155 pounds. That might seem difficult, considering Sanchez revealed today that on Christmas Eve, he weighed 193.
But Sanchez, like so many mixed martial artists, said he actually doesn't see dropping nearly 40 pounds between December 24 and his February 20 weigh-in as a particularly big deal.
"I was 193 on Christmas Eve and I've dropped about 30 pounds now," Sanchez said. "I'm in great shape, and as long as I'm in great shape I'll be able to recover from the cut. ... I haven't started to cut water out yet so I'm feeling strong.
So how did Sanchez lose all that weight?
"I eat brown rice, egg whites, lots of spinach, healthy fats like olive oil," Sanchez said. "That diet was good for me at 170, but I've had to make some adjustments dropping to 155 -- I've had to cut more fats out, cut more carbs out."
Sanchez said he eats just 1,100 calories a day, which would sound to most adult men like a starvation diet. But Sanchez sounded completely comfortable with it.
"My meals are real small and real precise," he said. "I'm doing high protein ... a lot of lean fish, a lot of salmon, protein shakes, and I just try to get a meal in right after every workout and I try not to eat right before bed. ... I just try to eat clean and train hard."
Although Sanchez doesn't seem to view losing weight as much of an obstacle, he also says he sees himself going back up in weight class in the future. I asked him whether his move to lightweight was permanent, and he said it wasn't.
"I don't see myself staying at lightweight forever," Sanchez said. "One of the reasons I dropped to lightweight is that if I'm going to do it, I better do it now, while I'm in my 20s. When I get to my 30s it's going to be tougher."
It might be tough in the future, but for now, the 27-year-old Sanchez finds it easy.