Throughout his career, Diego Sanchez has been tested in many facets of mixed martial arts. He’s been in three weight classes, fought for a title and even dealt with a lot of out-of-cage drama that might send the common man spinning out of control, never to return.
After getting his life together and returning the familiar surroundings of Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico, Sanchez feels he’s ready to test himself in a challenge that MMA and the UFC is yet to give him.
Diego Sanchez wants to be a coach on The Ultimate Fighter.
In speaking with MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition recently, Sanchez – who won the first season of the famed reality show as a middleweight, alongside light heavyweight winner Forrest Griffin – proclaimed he is a perfect candidate to coach TUF in an upcoming season. With the show finding a new home on the Fox network, Sanchez can gain a ton of exposure to a wide audience, and feels he’s deserving of such a honor.
“What I really want is to become The Ultimate Fighter coach,” Sanchez said. “I’m the first one to win the show. I’ve had 20 fights in the UFC, including my fights with Koscheck and Karalexis.”
Beyond the notoriety of being a TUF coach, Sanchez desires the sense of responsibility from making champions out of the ambitious contestants on the show. Since winning the first season six years ago, Sanchez has seen many walk through the halls of The Ultimate Fighter facility, but feels carrying on the tradition of the show is best suited for him.
According to him, being the first Ultimate Fighter winner gives him some leverage when asking who better to teach guys on the show?
“I just feel that’s what I want to do,” he said. “I want to go on and coach these kids and I want to help make some champions and continue the legacy that I started back in 2005 with being the first Ultimate Fighter.”
Apparently, Sanchez has been eyeing a TUF coaching spot for a while now. During that time, the former contestant turned coaching hopeful considered who he’d like to coach against. After looking at all the welterweights in the division, Sanchez wants to handle what appears to be unfinished business with former foes.
Purdue Boilermaker and top-ranked 170-pounder Jon Fitch is one of those former opponents Sanchez wouldn’t mind coaching opposite to. “We had a split decision (and) close fight,” he said when discussing who he’d like to coach against on TUF.
Fitch and Sanchez have some history dating back to UFC 76: Knockout in 2007, where Fitch pulled out the win. This and another loss stick out to Sanchez enough to where he’d like lead a team of young, hungry fighters to a TUF Finale, and eventually a showdown for personal payback.
What’s that other loss, might you ask? None other than the one against former welterweight and lightweight champ B.J. Penn, of course.
“A rematch with him would be awesome,” Sanchez said. “That’s a fight that I really would want to take now that I’m not a weak little 155-pounder, but I’m a strong 170 with a better head on my shoulders.”
Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller are the coaches for the upcoming 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, and typically, coaches for the following season aren’t picked until at or after the end of the current season. So if Sanchez is going to get his wish to be a TUF coach, he’ll have to wait a while, but that’s probably not a issue.
He’s waited this long… what’s another season?