According to Diego Sanchez, he can sleep easy at night knowing he bagged a disqualification win against Michel Pereira at UFC on ESPN+ 25.
The welterweight fighters collided in the co-main event on Saturday in Rio Rancho. The bout finished early in the third round after Pereira delivered an illegal knee while Sanchez was on the mat. The referee immediately intervened and acknowledged the foul.
Sanchez was given time to recover and asked if he could continue. “The Nightmare” couldn’t continue the action and was ultimately awarded the DQ victory. The conclusion stirred some criticism as spectators believed he should have soldiered on through the fight. However, the UFC veteran says his 15-years of experience left him confident he made the right call:
“Did I quit? No,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie.
“I got hit with a (expletive) serious knee to the head. I knew I was going down on the scorecards, I knew how things were rolling out. I made a smart, veteran decision because I know my face is, regardless or not of the last two minutes of the fight, my face is going to be covered in blood. The image is going to be painted on the judges. I already know. I don’t have a chance of winning that fight anymore. So, did I quit? I made a (expletive) smart decision to not put myself in some real danger where I would’ve been injured when that mother(expletive) hit me with an illegal shot when I was down.”
Going into the third round, Pereira was controlling the action and leading 20-18 on the judges’ scorecards. Sanchez admitted that his opponent was able to land some damage, but believes Pereira’s lack of control is what cost him the fight outcome.
“I took a hard hit to the head, but I made the right decision,” Sanchez said. “I knew that maybe I was going down on the scorecards. I knew. But my opponent lost control. He did not have the awareness to notice that I had gone down from a shot to the ribs. That really injured me, that shot to the ribs. It broke two of my ribs completely. I went down. He did not have the awareness that I went down. He threw a fully powered shot to my mother(expletive) dome piece, that split my wig. Split my forehead. I’m not your average human being. It did not knock me out, but did it damage me? Yes.
“How about the blood? How about the scar that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life? How about the blood that’s going to impact the judges? How about all this going forward? What if I get really (expletive) hurt? I made the right decision. I don’t need you guys look down here like, ‘Oh, I might have the biggest heart in the sport but I quit because I was (expletive) scared of Pereira.’ I’ve been doing this longer than (expletive) anybody and I deserve a little respect. If the UFC and the MMA community and the media don’t want to give it to me, I’m going to go (expletive) take it.”
Do you agree with Diego Sanchez’ comments?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/18/2020.