Diego Sanchez is the only cast member from the original season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) still competing in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — more than 15 years and running — and he is proud of that fact.
Sanchez (30-12) spoke with MMA Mania ahead of his UFC Rio Rancho co-headliner vs. Michel Pereira. And “The Nightmare” responded to Pereira’s ambitions for a “Fight of the Night” bonus, as well as touched on his long tenure inside the Octagon.
“I have an objective and that is to go in there and pull off the most cleanest, precision, razor-sharp skills. I’m going out there to display my skills. I have a skillset. I have been training for a long time and this year I have a lot of new techniques, movements and mindsets to my MMA IQ,” Sanchez said. “With this, I’m going out there to show you a whole new and improved, adapted Diego Sanchez. I have adapted once again. I have evolved once again.”
“That is why I am still here and holding the longest UFC career,” he continued. “This is something that people don't really talk about so much. I’m still here. Ain’t no one keep me out. You go look back and look at The Ultimate Fighter season one, ain’t nobody looking this young and fresh. Ain’t no one taking 1,672 strikes. Ain’t no one have 500 stitches on his face and still looking clean. Still being able to speak. These are things that I’m bringing into the cage.”
Part of evolving as a fighter is getting new looks in training. To that end, Sanchez spent some time at the UFC Performance Institute. While in Albuquerque, N.M., however, he trained with the MMA legend: Master Ken.
“Haha, I thought you were going to mention some other names at the UFC PI. Master Ken, great, brilliant comedian,” Sanchez said of Ken. “He’s a brilliant comedian, but as far as training goes I wouldn’t know. We didn’t do any training. We hooked up together to give the MMA community a little bit of laughs.”
UFC Rio Rancho takes place this Saturday night (Feb. 15, 2020), featuring a rematch between top Light Heavyweight contenders Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 1667 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 167: “Anderson vs. Blachowicz” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.