Before the quirky walkouts and the School of Self-Awareness mentorship, Diego Sanchez was simply a young man who loved to scrap. His unrelenting pace and stern will to win made him a Nightmare for opponents to deal with.
Sanchez began making a name for himself under the King of the Cage banner in 2002, the year of his pro debut. As a 21-year-old, he was dominating grown men in their prime, mostly forcing them to submission.
That was exactly what happened in 2003 when he faced former KOTC welterweight champion and fellow UFC veteran Mike Guymon. Sanchez took a knee shot to score a takedown in the opening seconds, and he pretty much took it from there. Guymon played defense on his back the entire time, taking punches and elbows. He did attempt some kind of leg attack at one point, but that didn’t get him anywhere.
Guymon almost made it out of that first round, until he decided to latch on to Sanchez’s punching arm while turtled up. Sanchez saw the opening for the armbar and finished it off by flipping Guymon over with three seconds left in the round.
Fast forward to 17 years later. Sanchez is the last remaining TUF 1 cast member in the UFC’s active roster, and he’s fighting Jake Matthews at the UFC 253 prelims this weekend in Fight Island. Kooky trainers aside, it’s hard not to root for the guy.
I’ll end this post with a quote from the man himself, and he couldn’t have said it any better: “I’m one of those guys that really doesn’t give a f—k.”
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