Andrew Sanchez has mix of relief, excitement to build on after UFC Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. – After back-to-back losses, Andrew Sanchez said his mind started to do some funny things.

He’d never had consecutive losses before, so heading into UFC Fight Night 135 on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., he felt the pressure. But he also knew he missed what it felt like to go through a camp, go through a fist fight, then get his hand raised.

“I missed that (expletive) feeling where you’re doing a camp, you’re thinking about it like, ‘I want to win so bad,'” Sanchez told MMAjunkie. “You’re worried about the losses and all the bad things that happen. And then finally you win, and it’s amazing, and you’re overcome with relief. You get a week, two weeks, to do whatever you want.

“I just missed that feeling. I wanted to feel it so bad, and I’m feeling it right now, and it’s amazing. It’s been a year and a half since I got a win. I had two hard losses and took a long time in between each one … It feels good knowing I’m on the right path.”

Sanchez (10-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) took a unanimous decision from Markus Perez (10-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) on the FS2-broadcast prelims Saturday to get back in the win column.

Sanchez, the light heavyweight winner on Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” hadn’t won since December 2016. His 2017 featured a pair of third-round knockout losses to Anthony Smith and Ryan Janes in fights he was doing well in up until he got caught.

“Your mind starts to play tricks on you. ‘Did I lose it?’ ‘Did I get lazy because I got to the UFC?’ Anything you can think of to doubt yourself pops into your mind. But you’ve got to just block that out.”

Now it’s not about getting back in the cage right away to build on his momentum. Instead, Sanchez said if he has to take a little time in the name of furthering his development with the team at Tristar Gym in Montreal, so be it.

“I’m going to take a week off, two weeks, then get back to training,” Sanchez said. “I want to continue to develop. I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg and I’m just nudging at my true potential. I want to continue to grow. If there’s time off, that’s fine. I have so many things I want to improve on, and I want to get right back to it. I don’t know when I want to fight again. We’ll see. I just want to continue to get better because I know there’s a lot more that I’m capable of.”

For more from Sanchez, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 135, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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