Welterweight contenders likely to fight this winter
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations on Saturday told Heavy.com the two welterweights will meet, likely sometime this winter. But the most talked-about date – Jan. 28 at UFC on Fox 2 in Chicago – is not likely to happen. Additionally, Sanchez's agent, Malki Kawa, took to Twitter earlier this week to say Sanchez would not be appearing on the Chicago card.
Sanchez has been recovering from a broken hand that in September knocked him out of a UFC 135 fight against Hall of Famer Matt Hughes. Sanchez was replaced by Josh Koscheck for that fight, and not long after the event he was first linked to a fight with Ellenberger at UFC 141 next month. But his recovery won't make that timetable possible.
Ellenberger, in an interview with the Brazilian website Tatame, said he likes his chances against Sanchez – though he did not confirm that the fight was a done deal.
"He's a great name, he's fought a lot of great fighters," Ellenberger told Tatame. "I would love to fight Diego. He brings a lot of good tools to the table – but he won't beat me."
Sanchez (23-4, 12-4 UFC), the Season 1 middleweight winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," has won two in a row. He returned to welterweight following a UFC 107 loss to BJ Penn for the lightweight title, but ran into the unbeaten John Hathaway, who dominated him at UFC 114. But Sanchez rebounded with a unanimous decision win over Paulo Thiago, then a controversial, albeit unanimous decision, victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 3 in March.
Ellenberger (26-5, 5-1 UFC) has been one of the welterweight division's hottest contenders. The Omaha, Neb.-based wrestler has won five straight, four by stoppage. In September, he won arguably the biggest fight of his career, knocking out Jake Shields in just 53 seconds in New Orleans. His only UFC loss came in his promotional debut, a split decision setback against Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 19.
Ellenberger told Tatame he would love a shot at welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. A win over Sanchez would give him six straight, against increasingly tough competition, and would put him in the running for the belt GSP will put on the line against Nick Diaz on Feb. 4.