Emmanuel “El Matador” Sanchez (19-4) is one of the last remaining competitors in the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix tournament. He was scheduled to fight Daniel Weichel in March before the pandemic broke out and forced a fight postponement.
We caught up with El Matador to find out what he has been up to since then.
“The second my fight was canceled I was in the gym the next day, I had to do something. So ever since then I had not only my group of teammates that are fighters but anyone who wanted to go outside and hit pads, run or other forms of strength training to keep me ahead of the game and ahead of my opponents”.
Two of Emmanuel’s top training partners are fighting on the Bellator event going down later this month at the Mohegan Sun casino. Sergio Pettis and Raufeon Stots both have fights lined up and are eager to step back into the cage and compete. Sanchez said both men are hungry and he is excited for them both to show the world what they have been working on at the famed Roufusport academy.
We asked if Sanchez may be traveling with his teammates to corner them.
“I won’t be just to help stay safe. With all the travel restrictions all over the world and life and I am still teaching here at the academy”.
Sanchez wasn’t happy about that, however. He went on to explain his frustrations.
“Honestly I’m kind of heartbroken because I was just there and was supposed to fight there. So it really kind of pisses me off that fights are gone be held there and I’m not going to fight. But I’m really happy for my guys”.
Sanchez fought the Champion, Pitbull, to a very close decision loss back in November of 2018. We got his thoughts on his take away from that fight and if it gives him positive motivation moving forward.
“A lot of people believe I won too, and right after that fight he went on and beat Michael Chandler to become the lightweight champ. I was hoping we would rematch and I asked for the rematch, I really wanted a rematch I was pushing for that and I don’t believe he wants it”.
Patricio Pitbull may be the Champion, but he has a long road ahead of him if he expects to remain champ and clean out the remaining fighters in the Grand Prix tournament. Sanchez feels confident regardless of what the future holds.
“I know I can beat him so now I know next time that comes around I am in a perfect position, it’s just prolonging the inevitable. I am gonna go out and finish Daniel Weichel and avenge that loss and then I want Pitbull to beat Carvalho and I’ll avenge that loss to Pitbull. Then enter the final and be ready for either one Caldwell or McKee, but I want McKee in that one so we will see, it doesn’t matter to me”.
One fight that fight fans have been clamoring for is Sanchez vs the undefeated AJ McKee. Sanchez gave us his thoughts on that potential matchup.
“I see right through him, honestly, and I’m going to say that to his face is that I know exactly what’s going on in his mind, the eyes don’t lie Chico. I see right through him, its all a front man and if he’s dismissive of me that’s good he probably thinks its gonna be easy work and your gonna be in a for a rude awakening and its gonna be a painful one”.
Sanchez went on to call McKee out at 155 and do something outside that Grand Prix. Sanchez responded to questions of why he didn’t call McKee out during the selection show.
“It’s because I have bigger fish to fry. He just beat Georgi, I beat Georgi the first time back in 2017 and you’re just now starting to fight him”.