UFC Ends Over 16 Years of Tenure After Diego Sanchez Withdraws From Final Fight

Published 04/30/2021, 5:27 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 06: Diego Sanchez enters the octagon against Michael Chiesa in their welterweight fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)


The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner, Diego Sanchez, was set to fight Donald Cerrone in his retirement fight on May 8th. But, as Sanchez withdrew from the contest, the UFC parted ways with ‘The Nightmare’.

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Sanchez had been a part of the UFC since 2004. His win against Kenny Florian in the TUF 1 final was the defining moment of his career. Subsequently, he competed in 32 UFC fights and won 19 of them. ‘The Nightmare’ also suffered 13 defeats.

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‘The Nightmare’ is one of the most unique characters to ever grace the Octagon. He might not have been a UFC champion, but his legacy is beyond belts. Sanchez has been a true legend of the sport and is beloved among the fans. So, it’s sad to see a UFC icon like him go out without having his farewell.

Sanchez challenged B. J. Penn for the lightweight championship in 2009, but lost. Wins over Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Nick Diaz, and more are the highlights of his career. Sanchez had a massive 16 finishes in his long career, with 10 of them coming by T/KO and 6 by submission.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 27: (R-L) Diego Sanchez faces Jake Matthews of Australia in their welterweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Sanchez had won 3 out of his last 5 fights in the UFC. However, a decision loss to Jake Matthews will go down as his last fight inside the Octagon. Now, it remains to be seen if the 39-year-old will take his talents to another promotion or retire from the sport.

What’s next for Donald Cerrone after the fight against Diego Sanchez is canceled?

‘Cowboy’ is hoping to get a last-minute replacement to stay on the May 8 card. He is always ready to fight anybody, anywhere. So, it’s not surprising to see the legend wanting to take on a short-notice opponent. Kevin Holland has already promised to fight him. However, there is no official word from the UFC.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 19: Donald Cerrone prepares to fight Niko Price in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Cerrone hasn’t won in his last five fights inside the Octagon. So, one might understand why he is so eager to return to action. He certainly wants to get back to the win column, but his status on next week’s fight card is up in the air.

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Will the UFC find a replacement for their former employee on the May 8 card? Or will ‘Cowboy’ have to wait to make his UFC return?

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Apratim Banerjee

706 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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