Last night Diego Sanchez posted on his Facebook page, “going back up to 170lbs,” though the message was later deleted. (See the update at the bottom of this article for the latest on this.)
Today mmaweekly contacted his manager who stated that no official decision had been made yet. Even so, it’s clearly an option that is at the very least being seriously seriously.
The idea of Sanchez going back up to the welterweight division where he has spent most of his UFC career, compiling a winning record of 7-2, is no real surprise. Since his move to lightweight he has noted several times that it is his intention to move back up at some stage.
Firstly though he had planned on winning the LW title, a goal that he fell just short of achieving at UFC 17 when he was convincingly defeated by the current champion BJ Penn.
Despite being soundly beaten Sanchez has been in defiant mood recently, and has stated that his main goal is to get a rematch with Penn. Right now that target seems unlikely. Several fighters, such as Penn’s next challenger Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Kenny Florian and Tyson Griffin are likely to now be above him in the pecking order for a possible fight with the champion, while Penn himself has stated a desire to go back to welterweight in order to earn a rematch with GSP.
If Sanchez does have his heart set on a second battle with BJ Penn then perhaps it would be a better strategy to return to welterweight and be lying in wait when the Hawaiian eventually moves up.
Personally though I think Sanchez still has unfinished business at 155lbs. When he first moved down to the division he called out Kenny Florian, a fighter who he had previously beaten at middleweight to become The Ultimate Fighter winner on Season 1 of the show.
Both fighters have developed considerably since that point with Florian now considered by many the No.2 lightweight in the UFC, and a rematch between them still makes a lot of sense at this stage.
Depending on how that fight played out Sanchez could then reassess his options and make the move up to welterweight again if he still had his heart set on it.
Well it looks as if Sanchez has already made up his mind. Only hours after this this article was published he announced on twitter that he will indeed be making the transition back to welterweight.
“YES IM GOING BACK TO WELTERWEIGHT IM LOVING MY NEW DIET.I WANT KOS OR FITCH BUT ANY TOP GUY WILL DO JUST WANT TO GIVE U FANS THE BEST FIGHT”
I’m a little disappointed. I really believe that a rematch between Sanchez and Kenny Florian was one of the best fights the UFC could put on in the lightweight division at this time, but his decision to go to welterweight means it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it.
As for his prospects at welterweight, both Koscheck and Fitch already have scheduled opponents so he is going to have to fight someone a little lower down the pecking order to begin with. I notice that he has already suggested to Nate Diaz that if he is also moving up to welterweight then he would be interested in fighting him.