After a lopsided loss to Michael Chiesa in the opening main card bout at UFC 239, UFC president Dana White says he will have a ‘serious conversation’ with Diego Sanchez about his fighting future.
White told reporters at the post-fight press conference that he will talk to Sanchez about his fighting future, though he cautioned against telling him to outright retire from MMA.
“Diego’s 37. This is one of those conversations where Diego isn’t getting viciously knocked out, but fighting is a young man’s game,” White said. “Once you start getting older, father time is undefeated, it kicks all of ours asses. I love the kid, I care about the kid. We need to have a serious conversation about what’s next.
“Diego Sanchez has helped build this sport just as much as anyone. He’s one of the Ultimate Fighter 1 guys. You know how I feel about those guys. I’d do anything for Diego.”
That’s in stark contrast to the harsh comments White had to say about Luke Rockhold, who was knocked out in devastating fashion by Jan Blachowicz. While White wouldn’t outright say Sanchez should retire, he didn’t mince words about Rockhold’s future.
“Diego has been in the fight game for 14 or 15 years. That’s amazing. It’s not like he got viciously knocked out. Like for example, I think Luke Rockhold should think about hanging it up,” White said.
Instead of criticizing Sanchez for a poor performance against Chiesa, White instead praised his opponent Chiesa, who he says impressed him in his second bout at welterweight.
“I love Diego Sanchez. I love everything about Diego Sanchez. That kid, when you talk about somebody who was put on this Earth to fight, that’s what this kid was born to do, he loves it so much,” White said. “You saw it tonight, the way he was treated by the fans. Chiesa is going to be scary at welterweight. He’s huge. Every time Diego tried to grapple with him he couldn’t. Chiesa fought a good fight.”
Should Diego Sanchez retire or did he just run into a better fighter in Michael Chiesa?