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Diego Sanchez: ‘When fighters are natural, it’s not the size of the dog, it’s the fight in the dog’

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Diego Sanchez compares competing before and after USADA came in, and his upcoming fight against Matt Brown.

UFC veteran Diego Sanchez is one of the last of the old school fighters. A product of the first season of the Ultimate Fighter in 2005, Sanchez fought in the era before the stringent drug-testing procedures imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The 35-year-old Sanchez recognizes how the game had evolved when USADA stepped in and welcomes the changes that leveled the playing field.

“I went down to 155 pounds for the challenge,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie. “I went down to 155 back in the day when TRT was allowed to be done. These guys didn’t even have a test for Human Growth Hormones. And on top of that, they were using IVs to rehydrate.”

“Once USADA came in the game, the sport started to adapt and evolve as it has been adapting and evolving since the very beginning. The things are changing, the game is changing. And you’re seeing that the real truth of it is when fighters are natural, it’s not the size of the dog, it’s the fight in the dog.”

“You’ve seen Rafael dos Anjos doing great, Robert Whittaker doing great,” Sanchez continued. “You see Kelvin Gastelum doing great. All these guys coming up in weight are doing great because they’re focused on the fight. They’re rested, they’re healthy, their brain is hydrated, their organs are hydrated. They’re healthy, and that’s what it comes down to.”

Sanchez says his loss to Joe Lauzon at UFC 200 became an eye-opener for him to re-think his career. With a new mindset entering his fight against Matt Brown this weekend, he promises a rejuvenated version of himself.

“With all that weight cutting, I was maybe at 70 percent,” Sanchez said. “It’s not a good fight for him because this gonna be the best Diego in there. I’m ready, I’m prepared.”

“Through the long process of all these years, I’ve evolved in my striking. But I’m not going to forget what my God-given blessings are, on the ground and with my wrestling.”

Sanchez and Brown will co-headline the UFC’s November 11th card in Norfolk, Virginia.