Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 10/19/14
The last time fans saw Diego Sanchez (Pictured) in action, he left the Octagon looking like this. Following an 11-month hiatus courtesy of a broken hand, the 30-year-old returns with a more mature perspective on the mixed martial arts fight game. It’s no longer about intimidation, but preparation for the battle he’s set to embark on. “I used to get involved in mind games, the fight before the fight, the mental and psychological aspects of the head games,” Sanchez admitted during this week’s media workouts. “When I was younger I used to think that was part of it. If you could beat a fighter before you even got into the ring then that was part of it. But now I’ve realized that once they lock the door it’s just two guys, two men. “The decisions that they made in their training camp, the decisions that they made with their life, that’s all that matters and what’s in their hearts.” It seems like eons ago when Sanchez burst onto the UFC scene by winning the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” During his seven years in the big leagues, he’s fought for the lightweight title, created the infamous ‘YES! Cartwheel,’ but more importantly, discovered an inner peace that’s allowed him to finally feel comfortable in his own skin. Although “The Dream” has been riding the pine for nearly a year, and has posted only a 2-1 record since returning to the welterweight class, he believes a win tonight over Jake Ellenberger catapults him towards the top of the division’s totem pole. While the chat rooms aren’t currently buzzing about Sanchez, he understands a devastating finish can quickly change things. “The fact that people aren’t talking about me for a title shot doesn’t bother me. It’s alright. Ellenberger has five wins in the UFC and some impressive ones. It all gets factored in. I have two ‘Fight of the Nights’ but, for me, to get that title shot I’m really going to have to earn it. “So I’m going to have to go in there and beat the guy who everyone says is going to get the title shot. I have to go in and beat him and I have to beat him convincingly.” Sanchez meets Ellenberger Wednesday inside CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. FUEL TV broadcasts the main card live beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Peyton Manning sets NFL touchdown passing record

Report: CJ Spiller suffers broken collarbone

DeMarco Murray sets record with another 100-yard game

Report: Things got 'ugly' in Bears locker room after loss

Rams beat Seahawks thanks to gutsy fake punt call

Brian Kelly unloads on officials for pass interference call

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Redskins bench Kirk Cousins for Colt McCoy

Brett Favre: I got calls about playing last season

Joseph Randle partners with underwear company after arrest

Report: Seahawks asked about Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron

Florida fans chant for Will Muschamp to be fired

Gennady Golovkin scores second-round knockout win

Video: Alec Burks breaks Kobe Bryant's ankles

WATCH: Sean Payton has tense exchange with reporter

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans with whiteboard

WATCH: Tony Romo nearly runs over Alex Rodriguez

WATCH: Prince Amukamara pulls Dwayne Harris' hair

What was the meaning behind Doug Baldwin's TD celebration?

Luke Kuechly ejected after questionable call

WATCH: Giovanni Bernard gets leveled by Vontae Davis

WATCH: Rams run awesome trick play for punt return TD

Kyle Orton shaves his epic mustache

Florida State beats Notre Dame 31-27 in thriller

LenDale White goes off on USC AD after being escorted out

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Report: Marshall calls out Jay Cutler

Darnell Dockett mocks Raiders fans

Brian Kelly unloads on officials

WATCH: Rams run punt return trick play for TD

Joseph Randle now an underwear spokesman?

Ex-Trojans RB escorted out after USC game

FSU tops Notre Dame in thriller

Fans chant for Muschamp's head

Popovich zings Suns owner

Golden Tate reacts to Percy Harvin trade

N.J. gov signs sports betting bill into law

WATCH: Tulane QB Nick Montana spikes ball on 4th down

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.