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Craig White will happily engage Diego Sanchez in ‘bloody as f*ck’ fight at UFC 228

Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors

After suffering a defeat to Neil Magny in his short-notice debut at UFC Liverpool, Craig White didn’t expect to be handed a sophomore outing against infamous TUF contestant and former lightweight title challenger, Diego Sanchez,

In fact, “The Thundercat” admitted that Sanchez was one of the last people he would have thought he could’ve been matched with for his second trip to the Octagon.

“He would’ve been the last person that came to mind. He wouldn’t have even been in consideration,” White told MMA Fighting. “This guy has got to be a Hall of Famer in waiting and it’s just a really phenomenal thing for me to fight someone of his stature.

“It’s amazing that I’m getting this opportunity after being given a debut against one of the top fighters in the division — that was achieving my dream, but this is a step beyond it. Now I get to fight a f*cking legend. I didn’t want to go in and fight anyone just to get an easy win. I’m really excited to perform.

“No matter what happens on this adventure, I can always say that I’ve been in there with some of the best guys in the world, I did all that I could and I didn’t run away from anything.”

White is known as a crowd pleaser on the European scene. Sanchez has acquired the same kind of reputation worldwide for his performances under the UFC banner.

Both men look slightly out of place when they’re not covered in blood, which has led most fans to anticipate an epic bout when they meet in Dallas, Texas. The fact that White is relishing the moment he gets punched in the face by Sanchez only heightens the probability of them sharing a memorable contest.

“It sounds crazy, but I know I’ll be like, ‘Wow, I just got punched in the face by Diego Sanchez’, not matter what happens when we get in there,” he said, laughing.

“I already see people talking about how it could be this amazing bloodbath given the way Diego and I have fought over the years. If that’s the case, so be it. Half of the pictures that were used to report this fight were of us both covered in blood in different fights we’ve had over the years. That’s the way it’s being reported, so I think it’s fair to say that people are anticipating that this one will be as bloody as f*ck. If it is going to be like that, I’ll be more than happy to be involved in it.

“The great thing about this sport is that there are so many ways to finish. There are so many tricky little things that people can finish you with, but at the end of the day, the classic fight is just two guys duking it out. You can have all those sneaky little submissions, but there’s nothing like two guys punching each other in the face until someone stops.”

White insisted that he wants the best version of Sanchez on the night.

“I just want the best version of him. I want him to come in and to not take the fight, or me, for granted. I want him to be motivated and I have no doubt that he will be. People always talk about him retiring after ever fight that he has. Maybe he is looking at that as an option now, but nobody wants to retire on a string of losses. Honestly, I hope this fight brings out the best Diego Sanchez that there is. That’s the guy that I want to get in there and fight.”

“The Thundercat” will likely be buoyed by the U.K. support in Dallas on Sept. 8, many of whom will specifically travel to watch Darren Till challenge for Tyron Woodley’s welterweight title. However, he hopes that his showing against Sanchez will give him a bigger spotlight, rather than sharing a nationality with one of the event’s headline acts.

“I’m still new to building up a fan base and things like that. The only times I’ve been outside of the U.K. for a fight is when I’ve been to Cork or Jordan with Cage Warriors — I’ve never been to America. I hope that who I’m fighting will get me more attention that someone else who is fighting on the card, if you get what I mean,” he said.

“That’s the great thing about fighting someone like Diego, he’s known all over the world. It’s not that I want to ride his coattails or anything like that, I just think a big win here will allow people to see me as legitimate and give me a chance to prove that I do belong here.”

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