Height: 5'10" (178cm)
Weight: 171 lbs
Fighting out of: Albuquerque, USA
Camp: Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts
Diego Sanchez Tweets
Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez (born December 31, 1981 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) is an American mixed martial artist (MMA) with a background in wrestling and Gaidojutsu, system of submission wrestling developed by his longtime, but now former, trainer Greg Jackson.
Sanchez currently fights as a lightweight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and has fought numerous times at welterweight.
Diego Sanchez wrestled for his high school 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.
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. Shortly after, Sanchez dropped to welterweight, defeating Brian Gassaway, Nick Diaz, John Alessio, Karo Parisyan, and Joe Riggs.
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.
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. 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 beforer rebounding against David Bielkheden at UFC 82 with a submission due to strikes. In his most recent bout, Sanchez stopped former Marine Luigi Fioravanti via TKO due to strikes at 4:07 of the third round at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale.
Sanchez has since moved down to lightweight where wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida earned him a title shot vs. B.J. Penn. Penn retained his title by a doctor stoppage TKO after opening a nasty cut on Sanchez' forehead with a kick.