(When your face regularly looks this mangled after fights, perhaps ‘The Dream’ isn’t the most fitting nickname)
While the internet is busy proclaiming Diego Sanchez has passed his best before date, Greg Jackson seems slightly more positive:
“We were trying to get that fire back in Diego. Get him to really push forward, get him to fake and feint, mess with his timing so we could get our entrances well and do what he did in the third round. [Sanchez] is really just getting started in his MMA career, Ellenberger is one of the top, top 170-pounders, so losing a close decision, it was two rounds to one, close decision like this, especially if we had two more rounds to work, I really don’t think it hurts his career at all. He won a lot of fans with his intensity and he’ll continue to do great things.”
Numbers may not lie but they can certainly mislead – Ellenberger boxed the snot out of Diego for two rounds and was on his way to more of the same in the third when he gave up that bad position. But Greg Jackson has proved that he can perform miracles from time to time – how else do you explain Keith Jardine’s 5 year UFC career? He’s also taken guys who are ‘last generation’ and managed to stretch their validity out a little further than it would normally go. The Joe Stevenson that Jackson retooled and brought in to fight Nate Diaz was possibly the best Joe Stevenson we’d ever seen.
That didn’t stop Joe from slumping afterwards and retiring. Moxie and a good gameplan will only get you so far, but between that and Diego’s natural abilities he should be able to hang around in the middle of the pack for a few years to come (which is basically where we knew he fit since 2007 anyways). Longer if he stops being a BJ Penn and drops back down to 155 where he belongs.