The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Diego Sanchez wanted to face an octagon legend in his final fight. It appears he’s gotten his wish.
Verbal agreements are in place for a welterweight bout between Sanchez and his former training partner, Donald Cerrone, at at May 8 UFC event, MMA Fighting has learned from multiple people with knowledge of the matchup. The event’s location has yet to be confirmed.
The fighters are two of the most experienced octagon vets to face off in the UFC, bringing a combined 68 fights into the cage. Former teammates on the famed Jackson-Wink MMA Academy, the two had separate fallouts with the gym and moved on to different camps, with Cerrone starting his own team on the BMF Ranch and Sanchez taking residence with School of Self Awareness founder Joshua Fabia.
Although Cerrone fought at a faster clip than Sanchez, in the process racking up a record 18 performance bonuses, Sanchez is the longest tenured fighter currently in the UFC with his debut coming April 9, 2005. Cerrone’s UFC record is 23-12-1, while Sanchez’s is 19-13.
Both veterans are coming off recent setbacks, with Cerrone delivering a majority draw against Niko Price at UFC Vegas 11 this past September and Sanchez losing a decision to Jake Matthews at UFC 253 on the same month.
Cerrone, 37, has resisted talks of retirement despite several high-profile setbacks including a first-round TKO loss against Conor McGregor at UFC 246. Sanchez, 39, recently announced he would conclude his career to move on to other interests and heal his body, but not before he closed out his career against a decorated vet.
Known primarily for his ground and pound skills, Sanchez faces off with one of the most dangerous strikers in UFC history in Cerrone.