Ahead of his clash with Jim Miller at UFC 196, watch Diego Sanchez face Clay Guida in a bout which won Fight of the Year for 2009.
With Diego ‘The Dream’ Sanchez headlining the UFC 196 prelims on UFC Fight Pass, the promotion’s YouTube channel has uploaded one of it’s very best fights.
Sanchez has always been somewhat unhinged. The original leader of the ‘Yes movement‘ often carried that unpredictability into the Octagon – much to the delight of fans. In June 2009, the ‘Nightmare’, as he was known then, fought the equally tenacious Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida in a compelling lightweight contest.
While Guida would go on to train under the conservative Greg Jackson, and lose much of what made him popular with fans as a result, his smashmouth, wild style was on full display here.
While there was no animosity between the two, their intensity meant that they fought as if the fate of the world depended on it. Recalling a crazier start to a fight other than Don Frye vs Yoshihiro Takayama proves quite difficult as a result.
Sanchez threw dozens of strikes to begin with, culminating with a serious head kick that landed flush. With a head that Ivan Drago would have labelled a ‘piece of iron’, Guida rallied in the later rounds to just come short in a close split decision loss.
“The guy has a tremendous chin,” Sanchez said of his rival after the war.
“There’s a reason he’s never been knocked out. He’s a machine. He’s an animal. … I love it when a guy’s bleeding on top of me. Call me weird, but it means battle. It means war.”
The ‘Nightmare/Dream would go on to face then lightweight champion BJ Penn, but would also ultimately come up short. With Sanchez unable to string together consecutive wins since 2011, the lightweight clash with durable submission specialist Jim Miller this weekend perhaps represents his last chance to contend for a championship once again.
Can Diego channel his greatest performance, or will the gold rush prove to be a pipe dream?