As he attempts to build his name, Emmanuel Sanchez hasn’t been given any breaks in Bellator MMA.
In his still-burgeoning career, the 26-year-old Roufusport product has already faced the likes of former featherweight champ Pat Curran, former No. 1 contender Daniel Weichel and a man who was supposed to challenge for 145-pound gold in Georgi Karakhanyan.
While Sanchez came up short in decision losses to Curran and Weichel, he captured a majority decision against Karakhanyan in his most recent bout at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21. That improved his overall mark in the California-based promotion to 6-2, a ledger that also includes triumphs over UFC veterans Justin Lawrence and Daniel Pineda. Up next, “El Matatdor” will attempt to further bolster his resume when he faces former 135-pound king Marcos Galvao at Bellator 175 in Chicago on Friday night.
“I believe it’s just another big name. This guy is great. He’s amazing. He’s up here for a reason. Every fight is dangerous to me,” Sanchez told Sherdog.com. “Every guy is a giant. It’s a mountain that I need to get over to be where I need to be. I have the utmost respect for him. He’s owned Bellator gold. I was there. I was on that card [when Galvao won the title]. I think he’s a great fighter; he’s great everywhere. But I’m very hungry and motivated to go out and beat him to get my name up there to the top.”
Sanchez-Galvao is part of the Bellator 175 main card, which takes place at Allstate Arena and airs on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. The event is headlined by a rematch between Quinton Jackson and Muhammed Lawal.
After fighting twice in 2016, Sanchez is hoping to maintain a more active schedule this year. He is well on his way since he will have already matched last year’s fight total at the conclusion of Friday night’s bout. According to Sanchez, that is only the beginning.
[I want to] fight four or five times. Just keep it running,” he said. “I’m just going on that momentum. I just want to continue to be successful, to put out some dominating wins......I’m just hungry. And I just want it. My will to win and my desire to be great outweighs everyone’s challenge and outweighs anything that they have for me. I can’t explain much more than that. I want this so bad.”
If all goes well for Sanchez, he believes he could be vying for the featherweight belt by year’s end. Reigning champion Daniel Straus is set to defend the title in a fourth meeting with Patricio Freire at Bellator 178 on April 21.
“This [Galvao] going to be the second former champion [I’ve fought]. In my division [I fought] a former champion, a man who fought for the title and a man who was supposed to fight for the title. If they want to talk about rankings and where everyone sits, that’s the top three guys right there. Short of fighting ‘Pitbull’ and Straus and the other two of the top five, then you got me,” he said. “I’m right up there in the mix. I’m anticipating big wins, amazing performances and my shot will come.”