Diego Sanchez confirms next UFC fight will be his last: ‘It’s time to heal not hurt’

After more than 15 years on the UFC roster, Diego Sanchez plans to hang up his gloves after this next fight.

Sanchez (30-13 MMA, 19-13 UFC), who won Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in 2005, announced on Sunday that he’s prepared to put the professional MMA chapter of his life in the rear-view mirror after one more trip to the octagon.

In recent years, Sanchez has gone through a personal evolution. Guided by his mentor Joshua Fabia, who runs the School of Self Awareness, Sanchez has come to the conclusion that competitive fighting is no longer part of his journey, and he intends to move after a final swan song (via Twitter):

It’s my last fight my heart path has changed, it’s time to heal not hurt! One more Nightmare to give! It is honestly in @danawhite hands who I fight, I have no choice in it nor do the match makers #endofanera

Sanchez has said on other social media posts that he plans for his farewell contest to take place in April or May. It appears he’s willing to take on anyone in that bout.

“The Nightmare” made his official UFC debut in April 2005, beating Kenny Florian to become the inaugural “TUF” winner. It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey since, as he unsuccessfully challenged for UFC gold in 2009 but has picked up notable wins against the likes of Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan, Martin Kampmann, Jim Miller, Mickey Gall and more in a remarkable career.

During the course of his 32-fight UFC tenure, however, Sanchez has absorbed 1,431 total head strikes, the second-most in company history behind B.J. Penn (1,434). He’s also one of two fighters in UFC history to fight in four separate weight classes, starting at middleweight and going all the way down to featherweight.

At 39, Sanchez is already a UFC Hall of Fame inductee in the “Fight Wing” for his memorable June 2009 war with Clay Guida. Once his career is over, he’s almost certain to join a second time on his own merits, as well.

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