UFC welterweight Diego Sanchez admitted that he is contemplating retirement, saying that he can “see at the end of the tunnel.”
Sanchez is one of the longest-tenured fighters on the UFC roster, having joined the UFC in 2005 after winning the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Throughout the years, Sanchez has been one of the most active fighters on the entire roster, fighting at weight four weight classes: 185lbs, 170lbs, 155lbs, 145lbs. In 2009, Sanchez fought BJ Penn for the UFC lightweight title and lost the bout via fifth-round doctor stoppage.
Although Sanchez is still winning fights — he’s won three of his last four overall — he has taken a lot of damage throughout his career, and fans and media have been calling for his retirement for several years now. Sanchez has carried on despite pleas for him to hang up his gloves, but at age 38, he has now finally “seen that light,” as he calls it.
Speaking on a recent edition of the “Real Quick With Mike Swick” podcast, Sanchez said that there’s a chance his fight against Jake Matthews at UFC 253 could be his last.
“Look, here we go, I’ve got four more left (on my UFC contract). I’ve signed my last contract with the UFC. I’m gonna ride these last four fights out and I’m done. I can see at the end of the tunnel, I can see that light, but I’m not afraid of it anymore. Before, for so many years I used to be like, ‘No, I’m not even gonna think about that. I’m not gonna think about retirement,'” Sanchez said (via Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting.com).
“I remember when I was 27 I was like, ‘When I’m 37 years old I’m gonna look at everything. I’m gonna see where my health is at, I’m gonna see where my money’s at, and if it’s time, maybe I’ll take a couple more fights.’ Then I hit 37 and I’m like, I feel better at 37 than I did at 27. So I guess I’m gonna stick with it and now it’s to the point where it’s like, alright, be grateful for what you got and get these last four with your mental health, with your speech, with the ability to do other things outside of fighting, like be a father.”
Whether Sanchez will retire or not after the Matthews fight remains to be seen, because with four fights left on his UFC deal there is still money he would be leaving on the table if he does hang them up. But after a legendary career, it appears he is at least at peace with the fact he is getting up there in age and may have to hang them up at some point soon.
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