— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 11, 2017
Earlier this month we saw UFC veteran Diego Sanchez back in competition. However, it was not in the UFC. The “Nightmare” stepped into the cage at the Jackson Wink Fight Night 2 card that took place at the Isleta Casino and Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 1. Diego’s opponent, Isaac Marquez, made his MMA debut that night and won with an armbar submission in the first round of their exhibition match.
The two appeared on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour where it was clear that the two have built a very close friendship.
Marquez was born with down syndrome and one day made his way through the doors of Jackson Wink MMA. Diego saw him watching and asked if he just wanted to watch or if he wanted to train. From there, the relationship started and has grown to making one of Marquez’s dreams come true with fighting in an MMA fight in honor of his mother who passed away with dementia.
Marquez is such as die-hard fan of MMA that he plans on getting a UFC tattoo. In fact, Sanchez said that “The Shermanator” wants to get two UFC tattoos but talked Marquez to just limiting it to one.
Sanchez said the MMA training has helped Isaac get healthier, immediately losing weight and eating a healthier diet and is serving as an inspiration to others.
“It’s been an amazing journey and we’re only ten months into the journey and we only train once a week,” said Sanchez. “So, the more and more opportunity that arises, hopefully we’ll be training twice a week, optimally it would be three.”
Sanchez added that they have plans of getting Marquez another exhibition match against fellow Jackson Wink MMA fighter John Dodson.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/13/2017.