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Diego Sanchez To Conor McGregor: You Act Like You’re The Muhammad Ali Of Ireland
Longtime UFC fighter Diego Sanchez has seen it all throughout his lengthy MMA career. From winning the first season of TUF to engaging in some of the best fights ever staged in the Octagon, Sanchez has firmly entrenched himself in UFC history.
His most recent bout was a thrilling three round brawl with Gilbert Melendez. While he ultimately lost a decision, Sanchez nearly finished Melendez in the final round. But more importantly, he showed the heart and determination to persevere, further proving that he may just be the most resilient combatant to ever step into the Octagon.
But that hasn’t stopped Irish upstart Conor McGregor, who has called out about every fighter in the world while healing from a torn ACL, from taking a few jabs at “The Dream.” McGregor is a featherweight, and it’s unknown when he’ll even be medically cleared to fight, so it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever get to see him and Sanchez lock horns. Still, Sanchez took to “The MMA Hour” yesterday to put “Notorious” in his place:
“He’s got the big mouth. This all started when he put out a tweet that was disrespecting all the top 145ers in the world. And I was just like, this is ridiculous. No one’s going to talk back to him? You know, somebody has to put the dude in his place because he has a real mouth. The crazy thing about it is he really believes his own hype. I put out a tweet, notable victories. Who are they? Who are your notable victories? Who are your notable fights? Who are these guys who beat you?”
“You have losses on your record and you act like you’re the Muhammad Ali of Ireland. You have losses on your record. Who are they? C’mon. Why do you think you’re freakin’ Superman when you ain’t done it. You gotta walk the walk before you can talk the talk. He fought two fights in UFC and he talks like he’s champion? I think it’s a bunch of crap.”
Sanchez raises some interesting points here. McGregor may have all the talent in the world, and he’s obviously successful on the mic, drumming up a huge amount of controversy after having only two fight in the UFC against, shall we say, midlevel competition. There are some serious beasts populating the top of the UFC featherweight division right now, names that would put Marcus Brimage and Max Holloway to absolute shame.
McGregor’s going to have to prove himself against some of this top talent before he starts considering taking on warriors like Sanchez who populate another heavier weight class altogether. Sanchez has indeed walked the walk, having fought at both 170 and 185-pounds. While McGregor has proved to have unique and effective striking, he hasn’t been tested against a top wrestler. He tore his ACL grappling with Holloway, not a good sign in a tune-up fight where he looked much bigger than his opponent. Sanchez knows this:
“He was talking s— about Chad Mendes. Chad Mendes! This guy will eat you for lunch. You have not proved you can wrestle. You have not proved you are legitimate on the ground. What are you going to do when you have Diego Sanchez on top of you ground and pounding you?”
Again, Sanchez may have a point. For an injured fighter to be calling out the number one guy in the division after not even fighting one in the top ten may be getting ahead of himself. Sanchez doesn’t like McGregor’s attitude, and closed out by putting it bluntly:
“I’m not about the money, I’m about being a warrior and getting it in there and putting it down for my legacy, for what I was born to do. I fight. I ain’t no little punk about money. I’m humble when it comes to that stuff. This dude, he’s going to get humbled. If our paths cross eventually, I’m going to get him. I doubt UFC would let that even happen because there’s money in this guy, he can bring the crowd to Ireland and Europe, they’re not going to give him nobody like me who is going to destroy this guy. But the dude’s eventually going to get his.”
As a fight fan, it’s hard not to support Sanchez thanks to the entertaining wars he’s put on for all of us. McGregor may eventually be great, but he’s gotten a bit too big for his britches. Do you think a healthy “Notorious” would stand a chance against the experienced “Dream?”
Outer Photo: Andrew Richardson for USA TODAY Sports