United States

Pro Record

"Nightmare"

25-7-0

Diego Sanchez

Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez

Photo Source:   MMAWeekly.com

  • Given Name: Diego J. Sanchez
  • Professional MMA Record: 25-7-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
  • Nickname: Nightmare
  • Current Streak: 1 Win
  • Age: 32 | Date of Birth: 1981.12.31
  • Last Fight: June 07, 2014 in UFC
  • Weight Class: Lightweight | Last Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs
  • Affiliation: Jackson's MMA
  • Height: 5'10" (178cm) | Reach: 72.0" (183cm)
  • Career Disclosed Earnings: $983,000 USD
  • Born: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • Fighter Pages: Sherdog  |  Wikipedia  |  The UG  |  UFC.com
  • Fighting out of: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Personal Pages: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Official Site

Gyms & Affiliations

Diego Sanchez Wiki Update Wiki

New Mexico native Diego Sanchez is one of the more unique fighters competing in the UFC. His personality, at times laid back and at times volatile and aggressive, causes most fans to either love him or hate him. He has remained one of the most aggressive and complete fighters in the UFC’s lightweight and welterweight divisions for the past several years.


Sanchez first rose to prominence on the local MMA scene in New Mexico, winning the King of the Cage Welterweight Championship after compiling a professional record of 11-0 from 2002-2004, with notable victories over Mike Guymon (by armbar) and Jorge Santiago along the way. Sanchez’s big break came in 2005, when he competed in and won the debut season of Spike TV’s popular reality show “The Ultimate Fighter,” swarming on and overwhelming the smaller Kenny Florian in the live finale to win by TKO in the first round. Sanchez distinguished himself on the star-packed first season of the hit series as much for his eccentric demeanor as for his in-cage tenacity.


After defeating Florian at 185, Sanchez dropped to 170 lbs. and compiled five straight victories, including wins over Nick Diaz, John Alessio, Karo Parisyan, and Joe Riggs, before losing the first fight of his professional career to bitter rival Josh Koscheck in 2007. Since then, Sanchez has alternated between the welterweight and lightweight divisions, defeating the likes of Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida and battling Lightweight Champion BJ Penn in a losing effort in 2009.


Sanchez is a black belt in Gaidojutsu, the fighting style created and taught by MMA trainer Greg Jackson, and he is also highly ranked in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. At the beginning of his career he took most of his opponents to the ground and attempted to finish by TKO or submission, but Sanchez has changed up his game to incorporate more kickboxing and clinch work in recent years. He won a World MMA Award in 2009 for Fight of the Year (vs. Clay Guida), as well as recognition in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for Fight of the Year in 2006 (vs. Karo Parisyan), and again in 2009 for the Guida fight. Whether or not Sanchez achieves a UFC title, he can consistently be counted on for arriving in the Octagon in top shape, fired up and ready for a war.


After the loss to Penn, Sanchez returned to the welterweight division where he faced up and comer John Hathaway at UFC 114 in a losing effort. Sanchez was able to get his career back on track with a decision victory against Paulo Thiago at UFC 121. The bout went on to win Fight of The Night.


Sanchez next headlined UFC Live: Sanchez vs Kampmann, opposite of Danish fighter, Martin Kampmann. The bout was a hotly contested back and forth bout which ended with Sanchez winning a close and controversial unanimous decision. The bout won Fight of the Night with both fighters receiving an unprecedented $160,000 bonus each.


In his next fight, Sanchez fought Jake Ellenberger in the first UFC event aired on Fuel TV. Ellenberger cruised during the first 2 rounds, but Sanchez mounted a valient comeback in the 3rd and several times put Ellenberger in dangerous positions. The fight would be awarded to Ellenberger and would also win Fight of The Night, making Sanchez the Fight Of The Night winner in his last 3 straight fights.

Sanchez would then face Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Japan. He would earn himself a Split Decision victory over Gomi in a very close fight.  He had one of the toughest tests of his career when he battled Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166. In an epic brawl that will go down as one of the best fights in MMA history, Sanchez came up short, losing a unanimous decision victory. He would fight surging, undefeated prospect, Myles Jury, at UFC 171 in his next fight. He would come up short losing again by Unanimous Decision.
In his next bout he shared the octagon with the highly touted Englishman Ross Pearson, the fight went the distance with Diego Sanchez winning the highly controversial split decision. He was then set to take on Joe Lauzon at UFC 180 but weeks before the event Lauzon was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
The Ultimate Fighter 1
Episode 4 Sanchez def. Alex Karalexis by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:47 in Round 1
Episode 8 Sanchez def. Josh Rafferty by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:48 in Round 1
Episode 11 Sanchez def. Josh Koscheck by Split Decision
TUF 1 Finale Sanchez def. Kenny Florian by TKO at 2:49 of Round 1


Last updated 11.04.2014, 5:29 AM ET
Wiki Contributors:

Diego Sanchez Lightweight Ranking History

Diego Sanchez MMA Fight Record

Record by Year and By Promotion

Pro Results Opponent Event Date
Cancelled Bout Joe Lauzon UFC 180 2014.11.15
Reason: Lauzon Withdrew
Cancelled Bout Norman Parke UFC 180 2014.11.15
Reason: Parke MCL Injury
Win | Decision | Split
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Ross Pearson
24-7-0 15-6-0

UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson vs. Khabilov
Co-Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2014.06.07
Odds: +120 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $140,000 ($70K Base, $70K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs | Referee: Kevin Mulhall
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Myles Jury
24-6-0 13-0-0

UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler
Main Card | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2014.03.15
Odds: +145 (Slight Underdog) | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs | Referee: Kerry Hatley
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Gilbert Melendez
24-5-0 21-3-0

UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3
Main Card | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2013.10.19
Odds: +425 (Heavy Underdog) | Disclosed Pay: $60,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs | Referee: Kerry Hatley
#15 Greatest Fight of All Time
#11 Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time
#5 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2013
UFC 166 Fight of the Night
Win | Decision | Split
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Takanori Gomi
23-5-0 34-8-0

UFC on FUEL TV 8: Silva vs. Stann
Main Card | Lightweight | 70 kg

2013.03.02
Odds: -225 (Moderate Favorite) | Weigh-In: 158.0 lbs | Referee: Marc Goddard
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jake Ellenberger
23-4-0 26-5-0

UFC on FUEL TV 1: Ellenberger vs. Sanchez
Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2012.02.15
Odds: +305 (Moderate Underdog) | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 170.0 lbs | Referee: Dan Miragliotta
#4 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2012
UFC on FUEL TV 1 Fight of the Night
Cancelled Bout Matt Hughes UFC 135 2011.09.24
Reason: Sanchez Broken Hand
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Martin Kampmann
22-4-0 17-4-0

UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs Kampmann
Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2011.03.03
Odds: +115 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $60,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 171.0 lbs
#73 Greatest Fight of All Time
#18 Greatest Welterweight MMA Fight of All Time
#4 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2011
UFC on Versus 3 Fight of the Night
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Paulo Thiago
21-4-0 13-2-0

UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2010.10.23
Odds: +120 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $170,000 ($50K Base, $50K Bonus, $70K Fight/Night) | Weigh-In: 170.5 lbs | Referee: Jason Herzog | Walkout Music: Roberto Griego - Arriba Nuevo México
#16 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2010
#24 Greatest Welterweight MMA Fight of All Time
UFC 121 Fight of the Night
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

John Hathaway
21-3-0 13-0-0

UFC 114: Jackson vs Evans
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2010.05.29
Odds: -205 (Moderate Favorite) Upset Defeat | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Base | Weigh-In: 171.0 lbs | Referee: Herb Dean | Walkout Music: T.I. - I'm Back
#66 Biggest Upset of All Time
Loss | KO/TKO | Injury
2:37 Round 5 of 5, 22:37 Total

BJ Penn
21-2-0 14-5-1

UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez
Main Event | Title Challenge | Lightweight | 155

2009.12.12
Odds: +225 (Moderate Underdog) | Weigh-In: 154.5 lbs | Referee: Herb Dean | Walkout Music: Don Omar feat. Tego Calderón - Bandoleros
#96 Greatest Fight of All Time
#7 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2009
#7 Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time
Win | Decision | Split
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Clay Guida
20-2-0 25-9-0

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale
Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2009.06.20
Odds: -347 (Moderate Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $115,000 ($45K Base, $45K Bonus, $25K Fight/Night) | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs | Referee: Josh Rosenthal
#7 Greatest Fight of All Time
#1 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2009
#3 Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time
The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale Fight of the Night
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Joe Stevenson
19-2-0 29-9-0

UFC 95: Sanchez vs. Stevenson
Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2009.02.21
Odds: -316 (Moderate Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $40,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs | Referee: Dan Miragliotta
#37 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2009
UFC 95 Fight of the Night
Cancelled Bout Thiago Alves UFC 90 2008.10.25
Reason: Sanchez Injury
Win | KO/TKO | Strikes
4:07 Round 3 of 3, 14:07 Total

Luigi Fioravanti
18-2-0 13-3-0

The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2008.06.21
Odds: -560 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $70,000 ($35K Base, $35K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 170.0 lbs | Referee: Josh Rosenthal
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
4:43 Round 1 of 3

David Bielkheden
17-2-0 12-5-0

UFC 82: Pride of a Champion
Preliminary Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2008.03.01
Odds: -575 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $60,000 ($30K Base, $30K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 169.5 lbs | Referee: Jerry Krysz
Loss | Decision | Split
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jon Fitch
17-1-0 16-2-0

UFC 76: Knockout
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2007.09.22
Odds: +105 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $22,000 Base | Weigh-In: 170.0 lbs | Referee: Herb Dean
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Josh Koscheck
17-0-0 8-1-0

UFC 69: Shootout
Co-Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2007.04.07
Odds: -190 (Slight Favorite) | Weigh-In: 168.5 lbs | Referee: John McCarthy
Win | KO/TKO | Knee
1:45 Round 1 of 3

Joe Riggs
16-0-0 25-7-0

UFC Fight Night 7: Sanchez vs Riggs
Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2006.12.13
Odds: -500 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $32,000 ($16K Base, $16K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 169.5 lbs | Referee: John McCarthy
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Karo Parisyan
15-0-0 15-3-0

UFC Fight Night 6: Sanchez vs Parisyan
Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2006.08.17
Odds: -103 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $32,000 ($16K Base, $16K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 169.5 lbs | Referee: John McCarthy
#27 Greatest Fight of All Time
#11 Greatest Welterweight MMA Fight of All Time
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

John Alessio
14-0-0 17-7-0

UFC 60: Hughes vs Gracie
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2006.05.27
Odds: -460 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $24,000 ($12K Base, $12K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 169.0 lbs | Referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Nick Diaz
13-0-0 11-3-0

The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale
Main Event | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2005.11.05
Disclosed Pay: $24,000 ($12K Base, $12K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 170.5 lbs | Referee: John McCarthy
#41 Greatest Fight of All Time
#8 Greatest Welterweight MMA Fight of All Time
Win | Submission | Punches
1:56 Round 2 of 3, 6:56 Total

Brian Gassaway
12-0-0 23-12-2

UFC 54: Boiling Point
Main Card | Welterweight | 170 lbs

2005.08.20
Odds: -600 (Huge Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $24,000 ($12K Base, $12K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 170.0 lbs | Referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
2:49 Round 1 of 3

Kenny Florian
11-0-0 2-1-0

The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale
Main Card | Tournament Finals | 185 lbs

2005.04.09
Disclosed Pay: $10,000 ($5K Base, $5K Bonus) | Weigh-In: 184.0 lbs | Referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Win | Decision | Unanimous

Jorge Santiago

King of the Cage

2004.06.12
Win | Submission | Strikes

Ray Elbe

King of the Cage

2004.05.15
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Travis Beachler

New Mexico Regional

2004.04.10
Win | Submission | Choke

Cruz Chacon

King of the Cage

2004.02.28
Win | Submission | Shoulder

John Cronk

King of the Cage

2003.08.03
Win | Submission | Armlock

Rene Kronvold

King of the Cage

2003.06.14
Win | Submission | Armlock

Mike Guymon

King of the Cage

2003.05.16
Win | KO/TKO | Strikes

Jake Short

King of the Cage

2003.02.21
Win | Submission | Choke

Shannon Ritch

King of the Cage

2002.12.15
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Jesus Sanchez

Mexico Regional

2002.09.06
Win | Submission | Choke

Michael Johnson

Ring of Fire

2002.06.21

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Videos & Highlights

    Documentary  |  Diego Sanchez: From Nightmare to the Dream report dead link

    Watch this short documentary about Diego Sanchez's road to MMA.

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