Diego Sanchez: This Time Its Personal
This is the stuff that movies are made of. Two rivals pitted
against each other in combat. The end result can only mean the
demise and death of the lesser man … (insert evil laugh). Well
maybe not that serious; but this is as serious as it gets as far as
mixed martial arts goes.
This Saturday night Diego
Sanchez (Pictures) (17-0) will put his unbeaten
record on the line as he faces former training partner Josh Koscheck (Pictures) (8-1) at UFC 69.
In the fight game there is always going to be trash talk to hype a
fight. This fight has almost reached the level of a Tupac-Notorious
B.I.G showdown and Sanchez is not taking Koscheck's smack
"That just shows what kind of fighter he is," said Sanchez. "If
he's thinking with that kind of mentality then obviously I don't
know what the hell he's thinking."
Koscheck who fights out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose,
Calif. had been asking UFC president Dana White for a shot at
Sanchez ever since he lost a razor thin decision on in the
semifinals of the first The Ultimate Fighter on SpikeTV.
"Kos" is riding a four-fight win streak and was granted his wish.
It was rumored that Koscheck said that he would pay matchmaker Joe
Silva to make the fight happen.
Sanchez also asked Dana for this same fight. In a meeting with the
UFC President he laid out his request.
"I just got the no go on Matt
Hughes (Pictures), so the first person that came to
mind was the only person talking a lot of shit about me and that's
Greg Jackson, Sanchez's
trainer, feels that Koscheck may have instigated the whole
"Diego doesn't have any real animosity towards Koscheck," Jackson
started. "It's Koscheck that has animosity towards Diego. Koscheck
I think really feels like it's very personal for him. Diego's just
out there having fun."
Jackson thinks that the whole turning point started when Koscheck
lost to Sanchez on the show.
"It's hard for him because every time he wins a fight or something
people remind him of how Diego beat him on the show," the trainer
said of Koscheck.
Sanchez, a product of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said this is a good
fight for him because it will prepare him for better opponents.
"It's a fun fight for me. Not only do his wrestling skills prepare
me for Matt Hughes
(Pictures) and Georges St. Pierre
(Pictures) but it's a fight where I get to
go in there and scrap."
While both were up and comers on TUF 1, both have become far better
than they were two years ago.
Yet Sanchez believes that Koscheck may not think so.
"He's not analyzing it for what it really is," said the undefeated
welterweight. "He thinks I peaked out and that I'm the same fighter
that I was on the show."
After training with Oscar De La Hoya and getting the champ's
personal stamp of approval, the "Nightmare" feels he has all the
credit he needs.
"I wouldn't have world champion boxers vouching for me that I'm a
future possible champ if I wasn't so progressed."
Not only is he a better fighter than he used to be, but Sanchez
believes the difference between himself and his opponent isn't
"He is a competitor," Sanchez said of Koscheck. "His ideal is he
wants to compete with Diego: ‘I want to be the first to beat
Sanchez then sat up straight and quickly changed his tone of
"But my mentality is, I'm a warrior. I'm here to kill this guy. I'm
here to put him to sleep. That's the difference between the two of
us I'm an animal, he's not."
Fight fans know that styles make everything. Koscheck is a
phenomenal wrestler who has won a NCAA Division I championship.
Sanchez is known for his grappling and, after his last fight with
Joe Riggs (Pictures), his hands.
The Jackson's submission fighter found it laughable that Koscheck
would underestimate his stand-up ability. When asked if he thought
Koscheck was going to stand and trade with him, Sanchez replied,
"He says he is. I think he's out of his mind. I think that he's
actually going to grow some balls and fight this time."
Sanchez wasted no time in giving his prediction.
"If he tries to stand with me then it's going to be a knockout,
either a knockout or a TKO. My ultimate prediction is a submission.
There are so many different submissions in jiu-jitsu and I feel
that I can submit Josh
Koscheck (Pictures) with anyone of them."
This fight has all the makings of a Hector vs. Achilles, Spartans
vs. Persians, Michigan vs. Ohio State, Yankees vs. Red Sox. OK, you
get the point: it should be a good one and after Saturday night
we'll know for whom the Hollywood ending was written.
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