After 18-plus years of blood, sweat, and trauma, Diego Sanchez believes that he has earned the right to retire from this sport on his own terms.
For 15 years, Diego Sanchez has been leaving it all in the Octagon. As is custom with warriors, he’s won some, he’s lost some, and he has the battle scars to show for it. Now 38 going on 39 years old in a couple of weeks, Sanchez is ready to leave behind the only thing he’s known for his adult life and is grateful to be able to exit now before it’s too late.
“I need to recover and heal because this fighting is a real traumatizing lifestyle, it really is, and that’s just being real and honest with the world, because I’ve gone through it, and I’ve got the scars to prove it,” Sanchez told MMA Fighting. “Somehow, man, god allowed me to come out of the tunnel. And I’m making it out, and that’s why it’s like, fight this last fight, get out, do other things, and be the guy that got out.”
Part of going out on his own terms involves fighting the right opponent. One name that Diego Sanchez has thrown out is Conor McGregor, but Dana White has publicly shot down this idea that he considers nonsensical. Sanchez also requested a fight against fellow OG Demian Maia, but with Maia ranked #7 and Sanchez unranked, the UFC turned this request down as well. Feeling the frustration, Diego Sanchez has some other names in mind that he feels would make for a great final bout, names that he feels he’s earned the right to face after what he has meant for the UFC.
“I like Nate Diaz, I like Nick Diaz, I like [Donald] ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone,” Sanchez said. “There’s a lot of guys out there that have the mileage. There are guys on the list that have had those UFC wars. That’s all I’m asking for. In my last four fights, three of those guys were 26 years old, and top of their country.
“I’ve let go of the dream of becoming a UFC champion that I held in my heart my whole life,” he continued. “I just want an OG fight. I want an OG that’s already come from wins and losses and had experience. Experience, that’s it. That’s the untold story of the warrior of the UFC. And I’m the one that’s ending this book, because I was the one who started this sh*t when the UFC was $40 million in debt and The Ultimate Fighter was an explosion.”
Whom would you like to see Diego Sanchez fight in his final bout before retirement?