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Diego Sanchez says goodbye to brawler identity

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MMA: UFC 166-Melendez vs Sanchez
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Diego Sanchez got a win he didn't deserve, Saturday. (Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports)

Whether or not Diego Sanchez wants to admit it, his brawling ways have more than caught up to him. The former TUF 1 winner and lightweight title challenger returns to action this Saturday at UFC 171 against Myles Jury.

In his last fight, Sanchez thrilled fans with a gritty display of determination and wild swinging in the face of what was (with the exception of a big uppercut in the final round) a solid beating at the hands of Gilbert Melendez. On Saturday, Sanchez faces a young up-and-comer in undefeated Myles Jury and says that his opponent will be shocked at what a changed fighter he is.

"I'm done being good. I'm done being some brawler," Sanchez said this week.

"I'm going to go in there and show greatness, because greatness is inside of me. I've shown little peaks and little moments throughout my career, but I'm tired of that."

Since his loss to Melendez last fall, Sanchez says he's worked on his footwork and on diversifying his striking attack on the feet. "I went to work on my footwork," he said.

"I also knew I was a headhunter in the [Melendez] fight, so I had to change up my whole striking style. What they're preparing for, what [striking coach] Tony Palafox and Myles Jury are preparing for is Diego Sanchez-Gilbert Melendez, the Diego Sanchez that was in San Diego (where Sanchez trained for some years) because they all knew me in San Diego. But that's not the Diego Sanchez that's going in there.

"I'm the Diego Sanchez who has diversified my striking to become a complete kickboxing fighting machine, with straight punches, with hooks, with kicks," Sanchez maintained.

 

Against Jury, Sanchez may be the war-ravaged veteran but he insists that he'll be the dog with fresh tricks on display.

"I've got all these different weapons in my toolbox to fight in this fight," he concluded.

"When I get in the cage with Myles Jury, he's not going to know what's hitting him."

Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda & @YahooCagewriter

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