It’s hard to find bigger fan favorites than two of The Ultimate Fighter’s very first winners in Season 1’s Sanchez and Season 5’s Diaz. Despite each having decade-plus long careers in the UFC, they somehow never crossed paths at either lightweight or welterweight.
In 2023, both fighters’ time has passed inside the octagon and boxing appears to be the next move. For Sanchez, his debut is confirmed — it just comes in the bare-knuckle fashion on Feb. 17 against Austin Trout at BKFC: KnuckleMania 3. Should Sanchez get past Trout, he has one clear target in mind.
“Nate won’t fight me because I beat his bigger brother and he idolizes his bigger brother in this weird way,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie. “I’ve been trying to fight Nate for 10 years. If this performance can be so epic and so powerful and dominant — and it will be — I have a chance at snagging that Nate Diaz fight. That’s always the fight I wanted, too, because if I beat Nate, then I’m the first guy to ever beat both Diaz brothers.
“You the real G, Nate? Then take off the gloves, homie. Real Gs don’t wear gloves, homie. Real Gs get down in the street — bone to bone, knuckle to knuckle, and the little b**** ends up buckling.”
Sanchez and Diaz’s older brother Nick met all the way back in Nov. 2005 in what was Sanchez’s third bout in the promotion. The bout was Diaz’s sixth (15th overall) and saw him drop a unanimous decision.
MMA has seemingly been put in the rear-view mirror for Sanchez after a March 2022 unanimous decision defeat to Kevin Lee. Meanwhile, Diaz is currently considered one of the hottest free agents in all of combat sports. Essentially, business is business at the end of the day, and the “Nightmare” predicts his fellow TUF winner to do what’s best for his bank account.
“I’m telling you all right now: Nate is just like everybody else in combat sports,” Sanchez said. “We’re all just trying to get the highest payday we could get. … So he’s got Conor McGregor, Jake Paul and he’s got Floyd Mayweather. He’s got those three fights that could possibly be big, huge paydays for him.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Both sides have agreed. I’ll be back in the cage in April!— Ricky Simón (@RickySimonUFC) January 20, 2023
Needs more Venum.
Knowing that a ton of fighters fight injured, so they can claim the injury in the fight to get the insurance. If health insurance was available for the fighters in the UFC, I wonder if Darrick Minner still tries to fight on a compromised knee? #foodforthought— Eric Nicksick (@Eric_XCMMA) January 19, 2023
This is so sad. Note the fencing posture with the first brain injury. He may never be the same. @danawhite & @TBSNetwork should be ashamed. Pure exploitation. What's next, "Who can survive a stabbing"? pic.twitter.com/jTENpUmJDd— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) January 19, 2023
If you really care about "fighters", the ABSOLUTE best thing you can do, is go to your local MMA gym. Ask the coach who the hardest working fighter in the room is. Then see if you can help that fighter with equipment, monthly tuition, or a website to help them get exposure.— Din Thomas (@DinThomas) January 19, 2023
What do you call that position? pic.twitter.com/ZmlhpKAs8Y— BJJotter (@JiujitsuOtter) January 19, 2023
Knucklemania 3 on Feb 17.— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) January 19, 2023
Also includes Austin Trout vs. Diego Sanchezpic.twitter.com/uY2oZRtZcy
Good rounds with Danielle Kelly today pic.twitter.com/IppMK81Cek— Jillian DeCoursey (@lionheartjill) January 19, 2023
All the single legs.
No belt needed.
Of all the callouts I wasn’t expecting. It’s actually pretty crazy that they never ended up fighting.
Happy Friday and thanks for reading! Have a great weekend, everyone.
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