Upon his UFC release in April 2021, TUF 1 alum Diego Sanchez was reportedly headed for a new career path under Bare Knuckle FC. By September, Sanchez was said to be in talks with BKFC president David Feldman for a fight that “makes sense.”
But by the end of 2021, Sanchez had reportedly signed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC with fellow UFC alum Kevin Lee as his debut opponent. How he got there was never talked about until recently when Sanchez appeared on MMA Junkie Radio.
“Ali (Abdelaziz) hit me up and he’s, like, ‘We want you, bro. Eagle FC wants to treat you like the legend you are,’” Sanchez explained.
“I was gonna get paid 75 grand more to go do BKFC. But, being the Diego Sanchez that I am, I believe in myself, and all the skills and the knowledge, and the wisdom that I retained over the course of the last 20 years. And the way my career ended in the UFC was not (in) Diego Sanchez fashion.
“That was orchestrated by my handler, and I really wanted to truly finish my mixed martial arts legacy and career my way, Diego Sanchez intuition, working through whatever I gotta work through, but training smart doing my martial arts. Diego Sanchez martial arts.”
Being a professional fighter for the last two decades of his life, Sanchez had trained with some of the sport’s best athletes. At this stage of his career, he’s banking on that experience when he faces a younger and “very athletic” Kevin Lee.
“Everything that I’ve learned over the course of a career, I’ve worked with everybody. I’ve worked with the best in jiu-jitsu, I’ve worked with the best in striking. I’ve worked with everybody, from everybody,” he said.
“Now, it’s my time to go out there and show my true skills, ‘cause with Kevin Lee, he’s 29 and I’m 40. He’s a very athletic man. So, with that being said, going into this fight, the only thing that can really win me this fight is skill. Skill and understanding. Timing. Speed. And making the right move at the right time with zero hesitation.
“I’m in shape, I’m getting in the best shape that I could get in. In six weeks, I’m coming with my A-game. I’m excited for 165, it’s a new weight division. My frame fits that division, so it’s looking good. I’m excited for it.”
Sanchez and Lee will be part of Eagle FC 46 which takes place on March 11th in Miami.