Diego Sanchez may be a huge underdog going into his UFC 166 fight Saturday with Gilbert Melendez, but not only does “The Dream” believe he’ll win (of course), but he thinks it could earn him a title shot…That’s right, and all this comes at a time when Sanchez has already said he’s got the style to beat the reigning lightweight champ Anthony Pettis.
The 31 year-old Sanchez, who is coming off a tightly contested, split decision win over Takanori Gomi in March, relayed the following to the media this week (comments from MMA Fighting.com):
“Gilbert Melendez is my golden ticket,” said Sanchez, before referring to the fact that he earned a fight with champion BJ Penn in 2009, after beating Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson. “I’ve done it before. I fought two fights in 2009 at 155. Straight to the belt.”
“(Melendez) has never been stopped. He avenged two of his three losses. His only loss is to Benson Henderson in a split decision that I felt went his way, so in a way I’m fighting a guy who’s almost untainted. And if I go in there, and I stop this guy, I think it makes a real case for a title shot.”
That’s an interesting way of looking at it, although, considering Sanchez isn’t currently ranked in the top ten, chances are he’ll likely have to fight another top contender first. Particularly since TJ Grant is still waiting on the sidelines, and Rafael dos Anjos and Khabib Nurmagomedov have also been on big runs. Would Melendez get booked for another huge fight? Absolutely.
Of course, this all depends on if Sanchez can defeat Melendez, who is a ridiculously tough and well rounded fighter. If you’re wondering, the betting lines have “El Nino” as a massive favourite in the -588 to -700 range.
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