Diego Sanchez’s retirement is expected to happen in his next outing. After a 15-plus year octagon odyssey, The Nightmare has publically stated he will hang up the gloves for good.
The former King of the Cage welterweight champion won the first season of the Ultimate Fighter as a middleweight and he once vied for the UFC lightweight title in a losing effort to BJ Penn. The UFC Hall of Famer also competed as a featherweight in the octagon too.
Sanchez purports that the UFC nixed the proposed idea of a Demian Maia fight. With the logic that Maia is currently ranked number seven at welterweight.
Diego Sanchez is looking for some sort of legendary, tenured opponent for his last bout. I think there are multiple options that make sense for Sanchez in his fighting farewell.
Possible opponents for Diego Sanchez’s retirement
This is one of the more discussed matchmaking permutations. Cerrone is an opponent Sanchez has indicated an interest in fighting already.
Donald Cerrone has recently been discussing a drop-down to lightweight but the nature of this bout could compel him to do one more at 170.
The amount of records and fight bonuses that Cowboy Cerrone has and the lengthy history of wars for Nightmare Sanchez leads one to believe this could be an inspired fight.
The two have exchanged barbs with one another on social media. There are a lot of question marks surrounding Hardy’s interest and whether he’ll even compete again as he has been competitively dormant for many years.
Sanchez vs Hardy would see a former lightweight title challenger and a former welterweight title challenger go to war. It’s a compelling matchup to think about stylistically but the likelihood of it coming to fruition is completely up in the air.
I think this is one of the more action-packed bouts you could make at 170 lbs. Both have been competing actively since the early 2000’s, both have gone through their own rough patches lately, and clearly seem in the twilight years of their illustrious combat careers.
Lawler has been targeted for recent fights with Mike Perry and I also think there are some other bouts that make sense for him. Robbie Lawler is ranked at #14 so perhaps UFC might not go with this option ala the aforementioned Maia reasoning but’s it’s a compelling one to think about still.
Perry would be the least tenured name on the list but this one still promises fireworks on paper. The pre-fight media for this one would also be tremendously entertaining. Both of these men are true characters within the sport.
Perry’s last fight was in November and Sanchez has been discussing an April or May return to the cage. The timelines of these two could coincide together pretty perfectly should the UFC matchmakers pursue a Mike Perry vs Diego Sanchez prizefight.
These two were recently beefing over Instagram DMs when James Krause made comments about Sanchez’s controversial coach/ mentor Joshua Fabia. This is a good fight in general but it doesn’t have as much luster for a Sanchez sendoff, in my estimation.
That’s no slight against Krause as he is a great martial artist. Someone who was a WEC and Bellator vet before his UFC foray. Ultimately, I think the Cerrone matchup is the likeliest to happen for Sanchez’s swan song.
Diego Sanchez’s retirement
In lieu of this announcement, what has been your favorite career moment for Diego Sanchez?
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.