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Diego Sanchez wants Nick Diaz in bare-knuckle fight, open to Nate Diaz but knows he ‘will never fight me’

Diego Sanchez is gunning for big fights in the last stage of his career — and he couldn’t imagine anything bigger than a bare-knuckle brawl with Nick Diaz.

It’s been over 17 years since Sanchez scored a unanimous decision win over Diaz in the UFC. Now that he’s got a fresh start in BKFC, The Ultimate Fighter season one winner wants to run it back with his former rival without gloves.

“I was asking for the Nick Diaz fight,” Sanchez told MMA Fighting. “That’s the real bare-knuckle fight I want, is Nick Diaz. I’m pretty sure he’s under his contract with the UFC for probably the rest of his life, so it will probably never happen. But let me throw that out there to the fans and let the fans know that Diego Sanchez ain’t afraid.

“I want Nick Diaz. I want a money fight. I want a fight that’s going to bring the fans. I want to end my career with these big, legendary fights. And what better to start than a world-champion boxer in Austin Trout?”

Sanchez faces Trout in the co-main event at BKFC KnuckleMania 3 on Feb. 17 in Albuquerque, N.M. The one-time UFC title challenger has grand ambitions beyond his debut fight.

While it seems highly unlikely that the UFC will release Diaz from his contract, the Endeavor-owned promotion previously has given permission for fighters to compete in bare-knuckle bouts. Most notably, Chad Mendes was allowed to fight in BKFC while still under UFC contract.

“Yo, Nick Diaz, respect to you, but I already whooped your ass in jiu-jitsu,” Sanchez said. “I whooped your ass in wrestling. I whooped your ass in the UFC octagon. And you say you’re the Stockton gangster? Well, take off the gloves, because gangsters don’t wear gloves, homie. We fight with what God gave us. Just these bare fists.

“You want to come to test who the real gangster is? Come to [Albuquerque], come step in the ring with Diego Sanchez and we’ll both make some money. We’ll both make a bag and do our thing.”

If Nick Diaz is unavailable, Sanchez sees younger brother Nate Diaz as the best possible alternative. The younger Diaz is a free agent after finishing his UFC contract in 2021.

Nate Diaz has teased several potential fights for the future, but as much as Sanchez might welcome that matchup, he doesn’t expect the younger Diaz to accept his challenge.

“Nate will never fight me,” Sanchez declared. “He only wants three fights — Conor McGregor, Jake Paul, or Floyd Mayweather. He don’t want another nightmare. I already beat his bigger brother, and that’s his idol. Nick Diaz is Nate Diaz’s idol and the GOAT to the Nick Diaz army family.

“I’m the guy that beat that guy. He was a Strikeforce world champion and I beat him. I beat him clean, I beat him decisively, and we were all in our prime. We were all in our youth. Now we’re not in our youth, but who’s kept the youth better? Who’s kept the health better? Who’s kept the mind better? I know that’s me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick or Nate would never, ever, ever step up to the challenge of Diego Sanchez again. But they’ve got a great fan base, and as a warrior, I challenge them both. Diaz army, let’s go.”

Before he can get to either Diaz brother, Sanchez first has to go through Trout, though he confidently predicts a first-round knockout in his first bare-knuckle fight.

“I know that I’m only going to fight so many more fights, but that doesn’t mean I’m washed up,” Sanchez said. “It doesn’t mean that I’m out of shape. That doesn’t mean that I’m unprepared. It doesn’t meant that I’m not mentally fit or sound or ready to dominate. That’s what I’m going to do on Feb. 17. Get in there and dominate.”

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