The UFC has terminated the contract of Diego Sanchez

The last remaining fighter from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter is no longer with the UFC. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion has officially terminated the contract of Diego Sanchez (30-13).

Sanchez was set to take on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) next weekend at UFC Vegas 26. However, we learned earlier this week that Sanchez was out of the fight, but we were not given a clear reason as to why.

After that announcement, a string of odd events occurred. Sanchez took to his Instagram to show his fighter meeting with the UFC commentary and production team from UFC 253.

The Nightmare’s controversial coach Joshua Fabia is seen in the video criticizing the commentary for being disrespectful. There was some back and forth before the video ended.

After that post, Sanchez posted a number of stories including stating that he was forced out of next weekend’s fight by the UFC. Last night, he posted another story with the caption of ‘Free at last’ while tagging other MMA promotions.

What happened with the UFC?

Per Okamoto’s story this morning, it all started out when Fabia requested all of Sanchez’s medical records that the UFC had spanning over the last fifteen years. Seeing how out of character this is, the UFC started their own investigation.

They went to Sanchez’s team and asked about the current state of Sanchez’s health. The UFC pressed on if there are any pressing medical issues regarding his health whether they be short-term or long-term.

Sanchez’s team came back to the UFC and said they couldn’t confirm that and he hasn’t gone through any kind of neurological evaluations recently. When receiving that information, the promotion decided to cancel next weekend’s fight and release Sanchez from his contract.

The release ends and incredible run for Diego Sanchez in the UFC. He won the first season of TUF and had been under the promotion for the last sixteen years. This fight next weekend was set to be his final show, but it looks like he will close his career elsewhere.

Diego Sanchez announces he will retire following next UFC fight

The final competing member of the original season of the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter is about to call it a career. The season one winner, Diego Sanchez (30-13), announced on Twitter yesterday that his next fight will be his last in the octagon.

Sanchez has been competing in the UFC for almost sixteen years now. His official debut came back in 2005 when he defeated Kenny Florian to win the UFC‘s first six-figure contract that they handed out for the Ultimate Fighter.

Sanchez fought in the middleweight division during that tournament. His career inside the octagon has seen him compete in four different divisions. Most notably the lightweight division where he had his best run.

After starting taking off in the UFC‘s welterweight division, Sanchez decided to drop to 155 pounds. Sanchez looked like a monster when he moved down to lightweight in 2008. He had two standout wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida.

The Guida fight has actually been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Following those two impressive wins, Sanchez got his lone shot at UFC gold against BJ Penn. Sanchez was completely dominated by Penn and decided to move back to welterweight after the loss.

Sanchez’s Incredible UFC Run

Since 2010, it’s really been a journey all over the map for Diego Sanchez inside the UFC. He’s competed at welterweight, lightweight, and even a one-fight stint at featherweight in the last decade.

The Nightmare has competed 19 times since 2010 and has gone 9-10 in those 19 fights. However, it’s worth noting that he won one of those fights by DQ in a fight that he was completely getting dominated in.

After all of the wars that he’s been in, the 39 year old Sanchez is ready to hang it up. Sanchez took to Twitter yesterday saying, “It’s time to heal not hurt! One more Nightmare to give!” He then stated it’s up to the UFC on who he will face.

There’s no telling on what the promotion will do for Sanchez’s final fight. There’s no secret that Dana White has a soft spot for the TUF one guys. He’s been very vocal about his love for Diego Sanchez over the last 15 years.

I’m honestly not sure what the UFC should do with Sanchez’s last fight. If he’s willing to cut to lightweight, it could be fun to see him in there with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 2 NC). Winnable or not, Sanchez needs to go out with an entertaining opponent. He deserves that.

UFC: Donald Cerrone wants to return to lightweight in February

Donald Cerrone

One of the most entertaining fighters in the history of the UFC is not done yet. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) has had a legendary career inside the octagon. The 37 year old holds virtually every record in the UFC.

Whether it’s the number of wins, number of finishes, or the number of bonuses, you’ll find Cowboy at the top. However, Cerrone has hit a really rough patch in his career. This patch really came out of no where over the last year.

At UFC 238, Cerrone took on Tony Ferguson. Going into that contest, Cowboy had won three in a row and a win would have likely given him a title shot. He had looked better than ever and carried a ton of momentum into that contest.

However, Ferguson got the better of him. After he lost to Ferguson, Cowboy was knocked out in the first round by Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor. Back in May, Cowboy returned to welterweight where he fought former UFC champion, Anthony Pettis.

Cerrone lost a decision that night, however, many people believe he won that fight. Then he took on Niko Price back in September and fought to a draw. In reality, Cerrone lost the fight, but Price had a point taken away which led to the draw.

UFC’s Cowboy nearing the end?

After the Niko Price fight, UFC president Dana White said he needed to have a talk with Cerrone. Despite having been close to a title shot just one year prior, Cerrone had gone 0-4-1 in a span of 15 months.

Factoring that in with the number of battles Cowboy had been in and you could make the argument that it might be time to walk away. However, the UFC‘s Cowboy isn’t going to go out like that.

If you follow Cerrone on social media, you can see that he’s training hard for his return. He posted on Instagram yesterday that he is returning to the lightweight division and he wants a fight in February.

I started thinking of potential opponents, and I actually like Cerrone against Bobby Green (27-11-1). Green had a sensational 2020 inside the octagon. Back in October he lost to Thiago Moises, but he’s still 3-1 since June.

Neither man is ranked in the UFC‘s lightweight division, but the name recognition of both makes for a good pairing. My guess is that we will see the UFC move to book Cerrone sooner than later and I wouldn’t be shocked to hear Green’s name.

A realistic matchup for Donald Cerrone after UFC Vegas 11

Donald Cerrone

Saturday night at UFC Vegas 11, Donald Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) fought to the first draw of his career against Niko Price (14-4-1, 1 NC). However, Cowboy was looking at it as the fifth straight loss for him inside the octagon.

If it had not been for a point deduction in the first round, Cerrone would have lost a split decision. The fight was close, but it should have been a fifth straight UFC loss for Donald Cerrone. Many thought it was do or die for Cowboy leading up to UFC Vegas 11.

Cowboy, who is notorious for staring slow, almost appeared to be out before the fight even started. Price blitzed him to start and nearly got a finish, but Cerrone hung in there. He battled back and even won the third round on all scorecards.

Cerrone was clearly dejected after the fight was over. Dana White suggested that the UFC needed to have a talk with Cerrone which could signal the end. However, Cerrone isn’t ready to give up. He’s looking for one more chance to prove himself.

Intriguing matchup for the UFC to consider

I kept trying to wrap my brain around who I would pair Cerrone with in his next fight. Who could the UFC give him that would make for a compelling fight, but it would be a winnable fight for Cerrone?

It’s crazy to think, but we are just a little over a year removed from Cerrone being a win away from a UFC title shot. Cerrone’s fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 238 was considered a title eliminator. If Cerrone had won that night, he would have fought for the title.

Instead, that night started this steep downhill tumble for Cowboy. I think I’ve come up with the perfect opponent for Cowboy and it’s an opponent who’s going to be fighting this weekend at UFC 253. That opponent is Diego Sanchez (30-12).

Sanchez will be taking on Jake Mathews this weekend, but regardless of the result, a fight with Cowboy makes sense. Both guys are obviously past their primes, and there’s a little history there. Sanchez really wanted to fight Cowboy back in 2018.

The options for the UFC and Cerrone are relatively limited. I don’t think the promotion should book him with a top contender or an up and comer. Give him someone with a name, but someone that he can fight competitively with. The original ultimate fighter makes a lot of sense to me.