December 31, 1981
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Other names||The Nightmare
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)|
|Reach||72 in (183 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|Team||Jackson's Submission Fighting
Black belt in |
Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
|Years active||2002 – present|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Notable school(s)||Del Norte High School|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Diego Sanchez (born December 31, 1981) is an American mixed martial artist with a background in wrestling and Gaidojutsu, system of submission wrestling developed by his longtime trainer Greg Jackson. He currently fights as a Lightweight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Sanchez was the Middleweight winner of the inaugural season of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. He is the former King of the Cage Welterweight Champion.
Sanchez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he also trains.
Diego Sanchez wrestled in New Mexico before starting training mixed martial arts while working for UPS. Sanchez eventually joined Jackson's Submission Fighting, still while working for UPS, managing the time between work and training.
Sanchez made his MMA debut in 2002 in the promotion Ring of Fire. He went on to compile an undefeated 11-0 record before becoming an contestant on The Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter
Sanchez 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 defeating fellow finalist Kenny Florian via TKO, 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".
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Sanchez faced Joe Riggs on December 13, 2006 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 7. Sanchez landed a right hook that knocked Riggs down, followed by a running knee that knocked Riggs out at 1:45 of the first round. Sanchez subsequently tested positive for the agents found in marijuana and was sentenced to a three-month suspension.
Sanchez was then cleared to fight Josh Koscheck at UFC 69. At the weigh-ins for the event, Sanchez shoved Koscheck while they stared each other down. Sanchez ended up losing a unanimous decision to Koscheck, ending his undefeated run, in a fight that was virtually all stand up. Koscheck managed to keep Sanchez at bay with superior hand speed and footwork until the bout timed out, to take the win 30–27 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. 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 bout, Sanchez lost his second straight fight by split decision to Jon Fitch at UFC 76 on September 22, 2007 before rebounding against David Bielkheden at UFC 82 with a submission win in the first round due to strikes. Following the win, Sanchez stopped 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.
He made his lightweight debut in his next fight on February 21, 2009 at UFC 95 against Joe Stevenson. 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. 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.
On June 20, 2009, Sanchez won a split-decision victory against Nick M. 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 of Sanchez. 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." Sanchez had his bottom lip completely split open, with his left eye swollen shut and a large cut above his left eyebrow.
Sanchez returned to the welterweight division and 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 rejoined Jackson's Submission Fighting for his next fight with Paulo Thiago on October 23, 2010 at UFC 121. In this fight, Sanchez utilized his wrestling to control and punish Thiago in the second and third rounds. Sanchez won the bout via unanimous decision.
Sanchez defeated Martin Kampmann by a controversial unanimous decision on March 3, 2011 at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann in a bout that earned Fight of the Night honors. In the bout, Kampmann dropped Sanchez in the first round, and continue to get the better in the exchanges but Sanchez continuously pressured Kampmann into the cage to force wild exchanges in the second and third rounds. By the end of the fight, both men were bloodied up especially Sanchez, whose face was a bloody mess.
Sanchez was expected to face former two-time UFC Welterweight Champion and UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes on September 24, 2011 at UFC 135. However, Sanchez had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken hand.
Sanchez then returned to lightweight and faced Takanori Gomi on March 2, 2013 at UFC on Fuel TV 8. Sanchez failed to make the 156 lb weight limit at the weigh ins, weighing at 158 lbs. He was fined 20 percent of his earnings and the bout was contested at a catchweight of 158 lb. Sanchez defeated Gomi via split decision. 12 of 12 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Gomi.
Sanchez is married to Bernadette Sanchez.
Championships and awards
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- King of the Cage
- KOTC Welterweight Championship (One time)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- World MMA Awards
- 2009 Fight of the Year vs. Clay Guida on June 20
- Inside MMA
- 2009 Bazzie Award for Fight of the Year vs. Clay Guida on June 20
- Grapplers Quest
- Grapplers Quest Champion (Seven times)
- Grapplers Quest Hall of Fame
- New Mexico Activities Association
- NMAA High School Wrestling State Champion
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|29 matches||24 wins||5 losses|
|Win||24–5||Takanori Gomi||Decision (split)||UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann||March 3, 2013||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan||Return to Lightweight; 158 lb catchweight bout as Sanchez missed weight.|
|Loss||23–5||Jake Ellenberger||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger||February 15, 2012||3||5:00||Omaha, Nebraska, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||23–4||Martin Kampmann||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann||March 3, 2011||3||5:00||Louisville, Kentucky, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||22–4||Paulo Thiago||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 121||October 23, 2010||3||5:00||Anaheim, California, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||21–4||John Hathaway||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 114||May 29, 2010||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Return to Welterweight.|
|Loss||21–3||B.J. Penn||TKO (cut)||UFC 107||December 12, 2009||5||2:37||Memphis, Tennessee, United States||For the UFC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||21–2||Clay Guida||Decision (split)||The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale||June 20, 2009||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||20–2||Joe Stevenson||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 95||February 21, 2009||3||5:00||London, United Kingdom||Lightweight Debut; Fight of the Night.|
|Win||19–2||Luigi Fioravanti||TKO (knee and punches)||The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs Team Forrest Finale||June 21, 2008||3||4:07||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||18–2||David Bielkheden||Submission (punches)||UFC 82||March 1, 2008||1||4:43||Columbus, Ohio, United States|
|Loss||17–2||Jon Fitch||Decision (split)||UFC 76||September 22, 2007||3||5:00||Anaheim, California, United States|
|Loss||17–1||Josh Koscheck||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 69||April 7, 2007||3||5:00||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Win||17–0||Joe Riggs||KO (knee)||UFC Fight Night: Sanchez vs. Riggs||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||August 17, 2006||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||15–0||John Alessio||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 60||May 27, 2006||3||5:00||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||14–0||Nick Diaz||Decision (unanimous)||The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale||November 5, 2005||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||13–0||Brian Gassaway||Submission (punches)||UFC 54||August 20, 2005||2||1:56||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Return to Welterweight.|
|Win||12–0||Kenny Florian||TKO (punches)||The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale||April 9, 2005||1||2:49||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fought at Middleweight. Won the The Ultimate Fighter 1 Middleweight.|
|Win||11–0||Jorge Santiago||Decision (unanimous)||King of the Cage 36||June 12, 2004||3||5:00||San Jacinto, California, United States||Won the KOTC Welterweight Championship.|
|Win||10–0||Ray Elbe||Submission (punches)||King of the Cage 35||May 15, 2004||1||1:07||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||9–0||Travis Beachler||TKO (punches)||Pride of Albuquerque||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||February 28, 2004||1||0:41||Acoma, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||7–0||John Cronk||Submission (kimura)||King of the Cage 26||August 3, 2003||2||1:30||Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||6–0||Rene Kronvold||Submission (armbar)||King of the Cage 24||June 14, 2003||1||3:39||Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||5–0||Mike Guymon||Submission (armbar)||King of the Cage 23||May 16, 2003||1||4:57||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||4–0||Jake Short||TKO (punches)||King of the Cage 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||December 15, 2002||1||0:59||Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States|
|Win||2–0||Jesus Sanchez||KO (punches)||Aztec Challenge 1||September 6, 2002||2||2:33||Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico|
|Win||1–0||Michael Johnson||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Ring of Fire 5||June 21, 2002||1||3:45||Denver, Colorado, United States|
- "UFC boss says Diego Sanchez almost retired on eve of UFC 69 in Houston". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-07.[dead link]
- "Diego Sanchez Next Fight Could Be In Lightweight Division". MMA News. December 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Nightmares for the Nightmare". sherdog.com. February 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Vincent, Gavin (December 13, 2009). "Dana White on Diego Sanchez: "He's about as busted up as I've ever seen a guy."". FiveKnuckles.com.
- Pan, Jin Yang (December 17, 2009) Diego Sanchez Face: Seriously wounded pictures after the UFC 107 final match with B.J. Penn. Dailyworldbuzz.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-12.
- "Diego Sanchez Returns to Welterweight Against John Hathaway at UFC 114". mmafrenzy.com. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- "SANCHEZ VS. THIAGO FACE OFF AT UFC 121". mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2010-07-21.[dead link]
- "Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann likely for UFC on Versus 3 main event". mmajunkie.com. December 8, 2010.
- "Matt Hughes vs. Diego Sanchez expected for UFC 135 in Denver". mmajunkie.com. June 8, 2011.
- "Broken hand forces Diego Sanchez out of UFC 135". mmajunkie.com. September 5, 2011.
- "Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez scheduled for battle at UFC 141". mmamatrix.com. September 29, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- "Diego Sanchez on the Mend; Eyeing 2012 UFC Return". mmaweekly.com. October 24, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Morgan, John (November 29, 2011). "Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez to headline Feb. 15 UFC event on FUEL TV". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- Martin, Damon (December 12, 2012). "Sanchez Faces Gomi in Japan". mmaweekly.com.
- "UFC on FUEL TV 8 weigh-in results: Silva and Stann set, Sanchez heavy". mmajunkie.com. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
- "MMA Decisions - UFC on Fuel 8: Diego Sanchez def. Takanori Gomi:". mmadecisions.com. March 3, 2013.
- "Diego Sanchez Signs Lifetime Contract". 5thround.com. 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Diego Sanchez|
- Diego Sanchez Official Website
- Diego Sanchez on Myspace
- Official UFC Profile
- Professional MMA record for Diego Sanchez from Sherdog
- Diego Sanchez Quotes