No one will mistake Diego Sanchez for Floyd Mayweather or Pernell Whitaker, but the kid is an adventure for MMA audiences to take in. The 29-year-old welterweight stood toe-to-toe last night with Martin Kampmann for 15 minutes. He was bloodied, swollen and beaten, but he got the win. UFC brass was so impressed by his performance they gave him a massive bonus of $160,000.
Sanchez tried to get the fight to the ground, his strongest area, but Kampmann's takedown defense was dynamite. The only recourse was to throw hands and go for the knockout.
"You know what was going through my head the whole fight? 'It's gonna land, it's gonna land.’ I was planning on landing that right hand and dropping him. Keep that mindset on. 'It's gonna land, it's gonna land,'" Sanchez told UFC.com "It landed a couple of times, he didn’t drop. When it comes down to it, I kind of threw the gameplan out the window and made it a street fight."
During the UFC video in the locker room, Sanchez was paid a visit by a very complimentary UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta. Sanchez said this is the kind of fight that he'll remember well after his career is over.
"I'm having the pure ecstasy of having war. A lot of UFC fighters, we dream of going in there and finishing the fights in the first round, but it's the fights like I had tonight that when you’re an old man ‘yeah! that was a war' and then you get to call up Martin Kampmann when we’re like 65, 'remember when we threw all those hooks in the ring?’ Those are the ones you don't forget," Sanchez said. "Whether you’re cut, you’re hurt, you don’t forget these no matter what. They're fun."
Fun, huh? Sanchez is off-the-charts unique, but there are plenty of fighters like the former The Ultimate Fighter champ, who lay it on the line each time they step in the cage. For that reason, passionately arguing about the decision in the fight is fine, but let's all stay away from ripping the performance of one or the other. Frankly, the Louisville crowd booing Sanchez, when he first started speaking in the Octagon, was kind of embarrassing. Appreciate what these fighters are potentially doing to their minds and bodies just to entertain us a little.
Kampmann also suffered a broken hand in the fight (the punch that likely broke his hand pictured below). He tweeted today that he's okay and headed for a vacation in the Netherlands.
Tip via MMAConvert