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UFC 228’s Diego Sanchez: I’m chasing after my destiny to become UFC champion

UFC veteran Diego Sanchez is still confident he can make one final run at UFC gold in his career.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Sanchez vs Held Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports

Though many observers feel UFC veteran Diego Sanchez is nearing the end of his fighting career, the 36-year-old remains adamant that he can still make one last run for UFC gold.

Sanchez (27-11) enters his fight at UFC 228 against Craig White on back-to-back knockout losses to Matt Brown and Al Iaquinta. The season one winner of The Ultimate Fighter hasn’t picked up consecutive UFC victories in over seven years, meaning if there ever is a time for Sanchez to start putting some wins together, it’s now.

Currently, Sanchez is not ranked at 170-pounds, and is a long way away from title contention in a talent-packed division. Regardless, his aspirations of becoming a UFC champion are still ever-present.

“I’m chasing after my destiny to become the UFC champion,” Sanchez told UFC.com. “I’m looking to do a Michael Bisping story, but it’s the Diego Sanchez story and it ends differently than the Michael Bisping story because it ends with that belt around my waist and it ends with me giving all the glory to God for all the trials and tribulations (I’ve been through).”

The closest Sanchez ever got to securing UFC gold was when he fought BJ Penn for the lightweight title back at UFC 107 in December 2009. A kick from Penn that opened up a huge gash on the forehead of Sanchez forced the doctor to stop the fight in the final round, but Sanchez feels he is now “100-times” the fighter he was on that night.

“I’m still durable. I’m still energized and I am 100 times the fighter than I was at UFC 107 when I stepped into the cage with BJ Penn,” he added. “It felt good to look back and see the 27-year-old Diego and now the 36-year-old Diego and think about how they would match up. This 36-year-old Diego would finish the 27-year-old Diego.

“I’m more confident than ever. My mind is right. I’ve had the time to assess my losses, all of my situations, where I’m at as a mixed martial artist at 36 and I feel like I’m in my prime. It’s 100 percent my time. I’m coming into this fight more confident than I have ever been.”

UFC 228 will take place this Saturday, September 8th, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. A welterweight title fight between current champion Tyron Woodley and Darren Till will headline the card. Sanchez vs. White will air on the Fight Pass preliminary card.