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Morning Report: Diego Sanchez 'loving' featherweight, but still wants fights with Gilbert Melendez, Joe Lauzon and Nate Diaz

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's been a while since we've seen Diego Sanchez in the Octagon.

After winning the first season of 'The Ultimate Fighter' a decade ago as a middleweight, Sanchez has spent 18 months dropping from lightweight to 145 pounds.

Checking in with his old friend Kenny Florian, Sanchez discussed the transition with someone who took the plunge, himself.

"Going down to featherweight, training with these smaller guys has benefited me in not getting injured so much," Sanchez told Florian and fellow UFC commentator Jon Anik. "For most of my career I was also training with the big guys at Jackson's MMA. Doing the [heavier weight] class, training with Carlos Condit, Derek Brunson and I've even had my rounds with Jon Jones. Andrei Arlovski, too.

"It's really been a different approach. At 33, I need to be more careful of my brain and taking brain damage. I made a decision. If I don't change my training then my longevity is done. I'm going to be retired before you know it."

Citing issues finding his range and being forced to fight inside with taller opponents, Sanchez is excited about turning the tables.

"Height advantage, reach advantage and just having more leverage," said Sanchez. "That's something that went into my decision. I had to say, 'OK, are you going to sacrifice some muscle and a little power to have an extra inch or two on your opponent?' That's the evolution. I don't want to take any more damage than I have to."

Sanchez faces former contender Ricardo Lamas Nov. 21 at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale, but says he's still got his eye on a few names back at 155 pounds.

"To be honest, I really do think I'm going to stay [at featherweight]," said Sanchez. "But the truth is there's some good fights at 155, too. I like the Joe Lauzon fight that almost happened. I think that's an exciting, fun fight. Who the hell wouldn't want to see a Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez II? Nate Diaz is a fight that I always wanted to make happen. I'm not going to rule out 155 but I've taken a loving to this new weight class."



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Nice to see.


Keep practicing.

#fail @ziggyssmokeshop @209ziggys

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