Diego Sanchez and Jake Matthews are scheduled to collide at UFC 253 and for one fighter, UFC 253 could be the night of his retirement.
Sanchez recently revealed that the bout against Matthews could be serving as his retirement fight.
“This could be my last fight,” Sanchez said on Real Quick w/Mike Swick (via Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “This fight coming up. I will be fighting Sept. 26, Jake Matthews, location to be announced, so I don’t know if it’s going to be Fight Island, I don’t know if it’s going to be Vegas. They have me, I’m on deck, it’s my time to get on them wrestling mats and go to work, I don’t know where it’s gonna be. I’m just grateful to have an opportunity through the crisis, coronavirus, and everything that’s going on all around the world, I have an opportunity. I’m just grateful to have any opportunity right now, because opportunity’s not just jumping around like it used to. You get an opportunity to make some good money, help your family, establish your future, you’ve got to jump on it. They sent me this contract, six weeks to get your ass in shape, Diego, and get your ass to the UFC and fight. I’m like, alright, we’re doing this.”
The UFC Ultimate Fighter 1 middleweight winner began his professional MMA career in June of 2002, where he defeated Michael Johnson by first round submission.
While Sanchez has put on some of the best performances in UFC history, one thing he doesn’t feel pressured to do anymore is put on similar performances.
“I’m at the latter stages of my career, so I don’t feel pressure to go in there and put on this great performance that I’ve always been putting on for the fans,” Sanchez said. “There ain’t gonna be no fans there, it’s just me and him, it’s gonna be quiet, and that’s back to The Ultimate Fighter. That’s rooted, ingrained in us.”
UFC 253 takes place on Saturday, September 26 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada with Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.