Diego Sanchez is ready to return to Eagle FC.
At Friday’s Eagle FC 46 event in Miami, the 40-year-old veteran dropped a unanimous decision to Kevin Lee in the 165-pound headlining bout in what was both fighters’ promotional debuts. Afterwards, Sanchez told the media that he was proud of his performance and his intention to continue competing.
“I feel like I’ve been away from the sport for so long, haven’t been in the cage for so long, haven’t been fighting for so long, just a lot of different emotions came out throughout the week. fight, all the way through the weight cut,” Sanchez said. “It wasn’t normal weight reduction for me either because I seriously nearly died in November, December. I had double pneumonia, blood clots in my legs and barely got out of hospital at the end of December, so it was not easy to get back in shape, it was much more difficult this time.
“But I’m working hard and I just said you know what, I’ll do it. I got the call from Ali [Abdelaziz], I got the call from Eagle FC and they got this opportunity for me. When I saw the first press conference where Kevin Lee signed with Eagle FC, I saw the attention he was getting and I saw the eyes were on him and people were watching. And I knew that this opportunity would never come again. It was just either you step up and deal with the circumstances and go out there and do your best and there’s a chance you’ll get it. And I almost did.
Although the decision was uncontroversial, Sanchez put in a competitive effort against Lee, who later said he thought he suffered a serious knee injury early in the fight. It was Sanchez’s first since losing to Jake Matthews at UFC 253 in September 2020.
Sanchez has been encouraged by his own performance and expects to fulfill his three-fight contract with Eagle FC.
“Some people told me they thought I won the second round, it should have been 29-28, but like I said, he’s not the best Diego Sanchez ever. “Sanchez said. “I sucked it in and I did it. I found myself in the best shape I could in five weeks and came out of retirement, out of the hospital.
“When I come back for my second fight against Eagle FC because I have two fights left on my contract, you’re going to see the real Diego Sanchez. You’re going to see me in my best physical shape and I’m going to do everything to get there and I’m going to come and I’m going to be victorious.
Sanchez’s return to competition has drawn public attention, given the number of fights he’s been in so far (2022 marks Sanchez’s 20th year as a professional fighter and he now has 44 fights under his belt) and the problems than the well-documented issues he encountered outside of the cage.
During his recent run with the UFC, Sanchez found himself embroiled in a controversial partnership with self-proclaimed guru Joshua Fabia which angers the MMA community. Sanchez himself then accused Fabia of ‘mental manipulation’. He understands the criticism that has come his way and states that he considers this chapter of his life to be behind him.
“The truth is, for the past two years, I wasn’t really myself and I was letting someone else run my life,” Sanchez said. “So I took control of the wheel and did it the Diego Sanchez way. I did that training camp myself. I didn’t have a team. I didn’t ran towards [former coach Greg] Jackson’s. I made it myself. I had friends. … I had two training partners, I had two jiu-jitsu training and I had a man with mittens. My team too.
“I haven’t done any practice rounds, maybe three or four practice rounds in this training camp. I put in the work and did what I could do and went and showed the world that anything is possible when God helps you.
Sanchez has admitted he definitely plans to retire once he’s done fighting for Eagle FC, but he still has goals in mind, including a rematch with Kevin Lee and a victory for a title with the promotion.
“I didn’t end up here,” Sanchez said. “I still see that Golden Eagle FC championship belt. I know what I’m capable of and I want to go back there with Kevin Lee. This is a fight I want. I want this fight, I want to fight it in my best condition. I feel like I’ve seen what he has to bring to the table. He couldn’t get me out of there. He threw everything he had at me and I found cracks in his armor. I want to go back there with Kevin Lee.