Diego Sanchez

Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez
Born Diego Sanchez
December 31, 1981 (1981-12-31) (age 29)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Other names The Dream, The Nightmare (formerly known as), Yes
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 171 lb (77.6 kg; 12.2 st)
Division Welterweight (170 lb) (2002 - present)
Lightweight (155 lb) (2009)
Middleweight (185 lb) (2005)
Reach 72 in (183 cm)
Fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Team Jackson's Submission Fighting
Trainer Greg Jackson
Rank Black belt in Gaidojutsu
Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Years active 2002 – present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 27
Wins 23
By knockout 6
By submission 9
By decision 8
Losses 4
By knockout 1
By decision 3
Notable school(s) Del Norte High School
Website http://www.diegonightmare.com/
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: October 19, 2010

Diego J. Sanchez (born December 31, 1981) is an American mixed martial artist (MMA) of Mexican descent, with a background in wrestling and Gaidojutsu, system of submission wrestling developed by his longtime trainer Greg Jackson.[1] He currently fights as a welterweight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Sanchez was the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series after defeating Kenny Florian in the tournament finals. Sanchez is currently ranked as the #9 welterweight fighter in the world by MMAWeekly.[2]


Early life

Sanchez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attended Del Norte High School, where he became a state champion wrestler.[citation needed]

Mixed martial Arts career

Diego Sanchez wrestled in New Mexico before starting training MMA while working for UPS. Sanchez eventually joined Jackson's Submission Fighting, still while working for UPS, managing the time between work and training. In 2002, he made his MMA debut for King of the Cage where he also later became a champion.[3]

His UFC debut came when he was chosen as a participant on the first season of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Presented as a young, focused middleweight who only had one goal, to become a UFC champion, he won a contract with the UFC after winning a fight against Kenny Florian, becoming the middleweight winner for the first season of the show. On the show, Sanchez was known for being the "odd-ball" of the group, practicing yoga at odd moments and trying to extract "energy" from a lightning storm, and was also a self-proclaimed "Zen master". Sanchez' last fight before his loss to Josh Koscheck was against Joe Riggs on December 13, 2006 at UFC Fight Night 7. Sanchez landed a right hook that knocked Riggs down, followed by a running knee that knocked Riggs out. Sanchez won at 1:45 of the first round, scoring the first UFC knockout of his career.

Sanchez was then cleared to fight Koscheck after serving a three-month suspension following a failed drug test where Sanchez tested positive for the agents found in marijuana.[4]

At the weigh-in for UFC 69, Sanchez shoved Koscheck while they stared each other down.

Sanchez ended up losing by decision to Josh Koscheck at UFC 69, ending his undefeated run, in a fight that was virtually all stand up. Predicted to be one of the best fights of 2007, the bout was slow paced, with very few exchanges. Going into the final moments of the third round, Sanchez was expected to advance in aggression in order to attempt a win, but instead he remained timid, throwing very short, under powered jabs. Koscheck managed to keep Sanchez at bay with superior hand speed and footwork until the bout timed out, to take the win on all three judges' cards.

Several weeks after the fight, Dana White announced that Sanchez was sick on the eve of the fight and almost had to retire when a test came back indicating he had Hepatitis C.[5] Doctors eventually concluded the test results were not correct, but could not diagnose his sickness, so the fight went ahead as planned. The day after the fight Sanchez had a hole in his thigh the "size of a coffee cup" and was diagnosed with a staph infection.

In his next fight he lost a split decision to Jon Fitch at UFC 76 on September 22, 2007 before rebounding against David Bielkheden at UFC 82 with a submission due to strikes. Following the win, Sanchez stopped former Marine Luigi Fioravanti via TKO due to strikes at 4:07 of the third round at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale. After pulling out of a fight with Thiago Alves due to an injury, Sanchez announced he would be moving to the lightweight division.[6]

Move to Lightweight

His next fight was then scheduled for February 21, 2009 at UFC 95 against Joe Stevenson in the lightweight division. Training for the bout Sanchez worked with professional boxers Joey Gilbert and Lupe Aquino, Brazilian grappling experts Xande and Saulo Ribeiro and wrestling coach Bob Anderson.[7] Although Stevenson pressed the action throughout the bout, Sanchez landed the better strikes and won by unanimous decision. Diego credits Tony Robbins for giving him mental preparation for this latest fight, and was seen entering the bout chanting "YES" repeatedly.

At the UFC 100 Fan Expo event in Las Vegas, 2009

On June 20, 2009, Sanchez won a split-decision victory against Clay Guida at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale. Sanchez won Fight of the Night honors, his second such award in a row. Opening up with a seemingly endless barrage of jabs and right uppercuts for the first minute he shook Guida, in the first round Sanchez also connected with a head kick that floored his opponent. Sanchez maintained a superior standup through the first round and the rest of the fight, though Guida rallied and made a contest of the next two rounds in a closely contested match. The fight went on to win "Fight of the Year" by several MMA magazines and the UFC.

At UFC 107 on December 12, 2009, Sanchez fought and lost to BJ Penn for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Early in the first round, Penn landed a right hand that dropped Sanchez, followed by flurry of punches that almost prompted referee Herb Dean to stop the fight. Although Sanchez was able to recover enough to stay in the bout, he was outclassed in the following 3 rounds that saw Penn dominate with superior stand up, whilst all 27 takedown attempts made by Sanchez were negated by Penn's superior defense. Early in the fifth round, Penn landed a head kick that caused a large cut to be opened up on the forehead. Herb Dean called the action to a halt for doctor's advice and the fight ended at 2:37 by TKO, marking the first time Sanchez has been stopped in a fight. This also marked only the second fight in UFC history to end in the fifth round. At the post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White was quoted saying Sanchez was "about as busted up as I've ever seen a guy."[8] Sanchez had his bottom lip completely split open, with his left eye swollen shut and a large cut above his left eyebrow.[9]

Return to Welterweight

Following his loss to Penn, Sanchez announced that he would be going back to fighting as a welterweight.[10]

Diego Sanchez made his return to his hometown, Albuquerque, New Mexico and has been training at Albuquerque Kickboxing & MMA for his return to welterweight.

Sanchez then faced John Hathaway on May 29, 2010 at UFC 114. In the first round of the fight, Hathaway caught Sanchez with a knee to the head as Sanchez attempted a takedown. Hathaway then dominated with ground and pound while all of Sanchez's takedown attempts were negated by Hathaway's strength, while through the rest of the way fight saw Hathaway utilize his superior striking reach, giving him the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), handing Sanchez his second consecutive loss.

Sanchez recently rejoined Jackson's Submission Fighting for his fight with Paulo Thiago.[11] Sanchez defeated Paulo Thiago by unanimous decision on October 23, 2010 at UFC 121 in California. In this fight, Sanchez utilized his wrestling to control and punish Thiago in the second and third rounds. The bout even saw Sanchez get a powerful slam on Thiago in the second round.

Sanchez defeated Martin Kampmann by unanimous decision on March 3, 2011 at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann in a bout that earned Fight of the Night honors.[12] In a bout, Kampmann dropped Sanchez in the first round, and continue to get the better in the exchanged. By the end of the match, both men were bloodied up, Sanchez continuously pressured Kampmann into the cage to force wild exchanges in the second and third rounds.

Sanchez was expected to face Matt Hughes on September 24, 2011 at UFC 135[13]; however on September 5, Sanchez had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken hand.[14]

A bout between Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger was briefly linked to UFC 141.[15] However, a lingering hand injury is expected to keep Sanchez out of action until February 2012. The "in the works" bout could possibly be held at UFC 143 or UFC 144, after Diego Sanchez recovers from his hand injury.[16]

Personal life

Sanchez married his girlfriend, Bernadette on May 21, 2011.[17]

Championships and awards

Mixed martial arts

  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
  • World MMA Awards
    • 2009 Fight of the Year vs. Clay Guida on June 20th

Submission grappling

  • Grapplers Quest
    • Grapplers Quest Champion (Seven times)
    • Grapplers Quest Hall of Fame

Amateur wrestling

Mixed martial arts record

Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 23-4 Martin Kampmann Decision (unanimous) UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann 02011-03-03 March 3, 2011 3 5:00 Louisville, Kentucky, United States Fight of the Night
Win 22–4 Paulo Thiago Decision (unanimous) UFC 121 02010-10-23 October 23, 2010 3 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States Fight of the Night
Loss 21-4 John Hathaway Decision (unanimous) UFC 114 02010-05-29 May 29, 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Return to Welterweight
Loss 21-3 B.J. Penn TKO (cut) UFC 107 02009-12-12 December 12, 2009 5 2:37 Memphis, Tennessee, United States For UFC Lightweight Championship
Win 21-2 Clay Guida Decision (split) The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale 02009-06-20 June 20, 2009 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night, Fight of the Year
Win 20-2 Joe Stevenson Decision (unanimous) UFC 95 02009-02-21 February 21, 2009 3 5:00 London, England Lightweight debut; Fight of the Night
Win 19-2 Luigi Fioravanti TKO (knee and punches) The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale 02008-06-21 June 21, 2008 3 4:07 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 18-2 David Bielkheden Submission (punches) UFC 82 02008-03-01 March 1, 2008 1 4:43 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 17-2 Jon Fitch Decision (split) UFC 76 02007-09-22 September 22, 2007 3 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States
Loss 17–1 Josh Koscheck Decision (unanimous) UFC 69 02007-04-07 April 7, 2007 3 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States
Win 17–0 Joe Riggs KO (knee) UFC Fight Night: Sanchez vs Riggs 02006-12-13 December 13, 2006 1 1:45 San Diego, California, United States Tested positive for marijuana
Win 16–0 Karo Parisyan Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night 6 02006-08-17 August 17, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Year
Win 15–0 John Alessio Decision (unanimous) UFC 60 02006-05-27 May 27, 2006 3 5:00 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 14–0 Nick Diaz Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale 02005-11-05 November 5, 2005 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–0 Brian Gassaway Submission (punches) UFC 54 02005-08-20 August 20, 2005 2 1:56 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–0 Kenny Florian TKO (punches) The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale 02005-04-09 April 9, 2005 1 2:49 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won The Ultimate Fighter 1 Middleweight Tournament
Win 11–0 Jorge Santiago Decision (unanimous) King of the Cage 36: Unfinished Business 02004-06-12 June 12, 2004 3 5:00 San Jacinto, California, United States Won KOTC Welterweight Championship
Win 10–0 Ray Elbe Submission (punches) King of the Cage 35: Albuquerque 02004-05-15 May 15, 2004 1 1:07 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Win 9–0 Travis Beachler TKO (punches) Pride of Albuquerque 02004-04-10 April 10, 2004 1 0:35 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Win 8–0 Cruz Chacon Submission (rear-naked choke) King of the Cage 35: Acoma 02004-02-28 February 28, 2004 1 0:41 Acoma, New Mexico, United States
Win 7–0 John Cronk Submission (kimura) King of the Cage 26: Gladiator Challenge 02003-08-03 August 3, 2003 2 1:30 Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States
Win 6–0 Rene Kronvold Submission (armbar) King of the Cage 24: Mayhem 02003-06-14 June 14, 2003 1 3:39 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Win 5–0 Mike Guymon Submission (armbar) King of the Cage 23: Sin City 02003-05-16 May 16, 2003 1 4:57 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 4–0 Jake Short TKO (punches) King of the Cage 21: Invasion 02003-02-21 February 21, 2003 1 2:34 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Win 3–0 Shannon Ritch Submission (rear-naked choke) King of the Cage 20: Crossroads 02002-12-15 December 15, 2002 1 0:59 Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States
Win 2–0 Jesus Sanchez KO (punches) Aztec Challenge 1 02002-09-06 September 6, 2002 2 2:33 Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Win 1–0 Michael Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) Ring of Fire 5: Predators 02002-06-21 June 21, 2002 1 3:45 Colorado, United States


  1. ^ Karkoski, Kris (August 8, 2007). "Diego Sanchez Leaves Jackson's Submission Fighting". MMAFrenzy.com. http://mmafrenzy.com/796/diego-sanchez-leaves-jacksons-submission-fighting/. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  2. ^ "Welterweight MMA Top 10". MMAWeekly.com. August 10, 2011. http://mmaweekly.com/welterweight-division-170-pound-limit-mma-top-10. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  3. ^ Acosta, Danny (February 17, 2009). "Nightmares for the 'Nightmare'". Sherdog.com. http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Nightmares-for-the-Nightmare-16230. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  4. ^ Arias, Carlos (2007-03-22). "Andrade finally gets title shot". The Orange County Register. http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/sports/other/article_1627788.php. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  5. ^ Davidson, Neil (May 24, 2007). "UFC boss says Diego Sanchez almost retired on eve of UFC 69 in Houston". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.cbc.ca/cp/sports/070524/s0524101A.html. Retrieved 2007-07-07. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Diego Sanchez Next Fight Could Be In Lightweight Division,". MMA News. December 5, 2008. http://www.mmanews.com/ufc/Diego-Sanchez-Next-Fight-Could-Be-In-Lightweight-Division.html. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  7. ^ Acosta, Danny (February 17, 2009). "Nightmares for the 'Nightmare'". Sherdog.com. http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/nightmares-for-the-nightmare-16230. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  8. ^ "http://www.fiveknuckles.com/mma-news/Dana-White-on-Diego-Sanchez-Hes-about-as-busted-up-as-Ive-ever-seen-a-guy.html". FiveKnuckles.com. http://www.fiveknuckles.com/mma-news/Dana-White-on-Diego-Sanchez-Hes-about-as-busted-up-as-Ive-ever-seen-a-guy.html. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ Diego Sanchez Face: Seriously wounded pictures after the UFC 107 final match with B.J. Penn
  10. ^ The Method to Diego Sanchez's Perceived Madness
  11. ^ http://twitter.com/DiegoNightmare/status/20805779551
  12. ^ "Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann likely for UFC on Versus 3 main event". mmajunkie.com. December 8, 2010. http://mmajunkie.com/news/21672/diego-sanchez-vs-martin-kampmann-likely-ufc-on-versus-3-main-event.mma. 
  13. ^ "Matt Hughes vs. Diego Sanchez expected for UFC 135 in Denver". mmajunkie.com. June 8, 2011. http://mmajunkie.com/news/23925/matt-hughes-vs-diego-sanchez-expected-for-ufc-135-in-denver.mma. 
  14. ^ "Broken hand forces Diego Sanchez out of UFC 135". mmajunkie.com. September 5, 2011. http://mmajunkie.com/news/25096/broken-hand-forces-diego-sanchez-out-of-ufc-135.mma. 
  15. ^ "Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez scheduled for battle at UFC 141". mmamatrix.com. September 29, 2011. http://mmamatrix.net/index.php/component/content/article/1-latest-news/446-jake-ellenberger-and-diego-sanchez-scheduled-for-battle-at-ufc-141-mma. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Diego Sanchez on the Mend; Eyeing 2012 UFC Return". mmaweekly.com. October 24, 2011. http://mmaweekly.com/diego-sanchez-on-the-mend-eyeing-early-2012-ufc-return. Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Diego Sanchez Signs Lifetime Contract". 5thround.com. 2011-05-22. http://www.5thround.com/76567/diego-sanchez-signs-lifetime-contract/. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 

External links

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