Looking back over last year, featherweight Donald Sanchez feels that it was both a good and bad time for his career.
On one hand, he lost his first bout in two years and left the gym he had been training at for a long time, but on the other hand it has allowed him to blaze his own path and he was able to close out 2014 on a positive note.
“It was kind of a rough year for me,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “I switched camps and that was real hard on me. I had to make a lot of changes.
“I won my last fight and everything is coming together now. This year I’ll be able to put everything together and make a real run at it.”
Sanchez decided to leave his old gym after feeling stagnated and in need of rejuvenation.
“It was kind of a long time coming,” he said. “I was a real loyal person and it was a real hard move for me to make. We had our differences, and I ended up doing it.
“I was kind of in a rut and had to find my way out of it and get in a groove. Now is the time.”
Friday night in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sanchez (30-14) will look to pick up his second straight win when he takes on Mark Dickman (9-2) in a feature 145-pound showdown at RFA 22.
“Mark’s a really decorated wrestler and he’s got decent stand-up and it’s getting better, so I think I have to go out there and impose my will,” said Sanchez.
“If I don’t stop the takedown, I’ve got to get right back up and show this guy what I’m all about. I’m not going to have these wrestlers holding me down and pointing me out.”
While he has three times as many fights as his opponent does, Sanchez doesn’t feel his experience will play a large role in the fight.
“I believe that I’ve been in different situations that (Dickman) hasn’t, and if we get into one of those situations, it will play in my factor,” said Sanchez. “Other than that, I think we’re pretty evenly matched.”
While Sanchez has goals for 2015, he’s not one to look past what’s in front of him for the sake of something else.
“Like anyone else, you have an ultimate goal: to fight at the highest level with the highest competition, so that’s what I’m shooting for,” he said. “But I definitely will take it one fight at a time.”