Diego Sanchez has found closure.
Sanchez returns to action this weekend at UFC 253, facing Jake Matthews in a welterweight division encounter. There was a time when Sanchez was chasing UFC gold, but that no longer appears to be the case for the fighter.
“I’m bringing a new mindset to fighting, life and everything,” Sanchez said at the UFC 253 media day (via Danny Segura & John Morgan of MMA Junkie). “I’ve let go all those dreams of becoming a UFC champion. I’m just here to enjoy the experience and finish out these four fights on legendary status. I’m trying to go out as good as I came in if not better.”
Sanchez did have an opportunity to become the UFC lightweight champion at UFC 107 in December of 2009, but he suffered a fifth round TKO loss to BJ Penn.
The fighter says that no longer chasing UFC gold has removed a lot of pressure that was previously on him.
“It’s just a removal of an invisible pressure I might’ve put on myself,” Sanchez said. “It was something that was self created in believing that it was my destiny to become a UFC champion. Now, I’ve removed that pressure and I’m just doing my thing, man. I’m just doing my thing, doing it my way outside the box. Like I’ve said before, I’m enjoying life. The pandemic was a great thing for me. I got rest that I’ve never ever had in my 17 year span of fighting with the UFC and chasing this invisible dream of becoming a UFC champion. I never game myself rest. I went from camp to camp to camp, from injury to injury to injury, to camp to camp, to marriage to a divorce, and now I’m settled. I got my feet on the ground. I’m grounded. I’m getting my electrons from the mother, I’m feeling good.”
UFC 253 takes place on Saturday, September 26 from Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.