Diego Sanchez and Michael Chiesa are set to clash next weekend at UFC 239, with their bout kicking off the pay-per-view portion of the card.

However, before UFC 239, a major change was made by Sanchez and that came in the form of the fighter leaving Jackson-Winklejohn.

“I made a crucial decision,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie. “This is a Diego Sanchez moment. I made a crucial decision. It’s three weeks before the fight. No more JW – Jackson-Wink, one of the best teams in the world. No. I’m going in with one trainer. I’m going in with one trainer. People are like, ‘Wow, what the hell, Diego? What are you thinking?’ Well, I’m not only thinking, I’m feeling. That’s a big part of who Diego Sanchez is: I don’t think too much. I don’t think it’s good to think too much. I think you’ve got to feel. You’ve got to feel this – your gut. You’ve got to feel this part right here that’s inside of you. All I know is I wasn’t learning. I wasn’t growing as a mixed martial artist, that they were teaching me with the knowledge and information as trainers that they were doing. They were just basically going through the motions with Diego Sanchez.”

The TUF champion had left the camp once before in 2007, but returned a few years later and has been with the famed team until a few weeks ago.

Even though he has exited Jackson-Winklejohn, one thing Sanchez will forever be is grateful to the camp for all that they have done for him.

“Nothing but respect for Winkeljohn and Greg,” Sanchez said. “I love those guys. I am grateful and I express a huge amount of gratitude right now to both Mike Winkeljohn, to Greg Jackson, to Jackson’s MMA. Everything. All the way up. All the training parters that got in that room and helped me become the man that I am right now, I appreciate. For this time in my career, there was no focus on Diego. There was no real love on Diego Sanchez. Maybe because we’ve got two belt fights, Jon (Jones) and Holly (Holm at UFC 239), but you know what? I don’t give a (expletive). I don’t give a (expletive). I’m Diego Sanchez. I am special. I’m a Hall of Famer.”

UFC 239 takes place on Saturday, July 6 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Jon Jones and Thiago Santos headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.

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