Diego Sanchez deserves a spot in the UFC hall of fame. Let’s get that out of the way. The 38 year old was an original participant in season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter, the show that helped to catapult the UFC towards the mainstream.
However, with 4 fights left on his contract, MMA fans are concerned for Diego Sanchez’s well being as he was completely out-classed by rising star Jake Matthews on the UFC 253 preliminary card. The Australian won an unanimous decision against the ‘Nightmare’ in what was, an unfair match up, with all three judges giving it 30-26 to the young fighter. The fight was encapsulated perfectly at the start of the third round when Diego Sanchez attempted a Jorge Masvidal-esque flying knee. But in this fight, Jake Matthews just took a step back, while Sanchez un-athletically soared through the air, and hit him with a left hook to the head as he landed.
In the post event conference, UFC president Dana White was quizzed on Sanchez and if the UFC would be comfortable with him seeing out the 4 fights on his contract. Dana White was full of praise and concern for Sanchez as he said: “I love Diego Sanchez, i gotta talk to the guys in the office about this. This guy Diego Sanchez just a great person but as these guys start to get older and start racking up some losses its tough to watch.”
The stats would back Diego Sanchez to keep his career going as he is 3-2 in his last 5 fights. However, two of the victories came against weak competition in Craig White (back in 2018) and Micky Gall (2019). The other victory was a DQ victory against Michel Pereira this past February. It’s important to note that before the DQ, Pereira was using Sanchez as a punching bag before losing his discipline and landing an illegal knee whilst Sanchez was grounded.
At the end of the day, the only person who can tell Diego Sanchez what to do is Diego Sanchez. He has every right to fight out the remaining fights on his contract and we wish him the best of luck in those fights. But, we sincerely hope he doesn’t take those fights and settles with the UFC on a good chunk of change in a release deal.
Diego Sanchez is destined for the UFC hall of fame already, he has nothing more to prove. His fighting style is not designed for longevity in combat sports.
The Nightmare’s time is up, anyone who thinks otherwise is in dreamland.