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Diego Sanchez says his next fight will be at lightweight

Jon Kopaloff

Diego Sanchez's long and winding road is ready to take another turn.

With little prompting, the "Ultimate Fighter 1" champion and Jackson's MMA fighter took to Twitter on Monday and announced he is moving back to the lightweight division.

"MY NEXT FIGHT WILL BE AT LIGHTWEIGHT," Sanchez tweeted, the caps all his. The news came an hour after Sanchez tweeted "Announcement about my next fight will be coming soon this week."

The move sounds like good news for fans of the veteran fighter. One of the most consistently exciting competitors in the UFC, Sanchez experienced his greatest success at 155 pounds, where he defeated Clay Guida via split decision in what many consider 2009‘s Fight of the Year and a title shot at then-champion B.J. Penn.

After losing the title challenge to Penn at UFC 107, though, Sanchez (23-5) made the decision to move back to 170 pounds. There, Sanchez continued to deliver his trademark, action-packed brawls, earning Fight of the Night bonuses in each of his past three fights. But he's gone 2-2 since going back to welterweight, including a decision loss to Jake Ellenberger in his last fight on Feb. 15.

In an August appearance on The MMA Hour, Sanchez dropped the hint that a move back to lightweight was on his mind.

"I went over it with Greg Jackson and my coaches, and, it just makes sense," Sanchez said. "Everyone's dropping weight. When I saw [Nate] Marquardt fight at 170, I was like, this guy's a monster. He's huge, he's strong, he's in shape. I'm just not that physically big, so I was like, I better do what I have to do, get down to 155, be where I'm going to have the most leverage, strength, speed, the best technique. And also on top of that have less injuries training with smaller guys, less weight, less load on the knees. Its a smarter decision toward the end of my career."