When fans think about the inaugural season of”The Ultimate Fighter,” Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar immediately come to mind as a result of their immediate classic. Therefore, its just suiting the very first ever Ultimate Fighter be the last to leave the UFC. No, I’m not talking about Forrest Griffin. The struggle between Bonnar and Griffin throughout the TUF’s Season 1 Finale single-handedly helped bring the UFC into the mainstream. Dana White later called it Zuffa’s”Trojan Horse”. However, in doing this, it overshadowed the fact that Diego Sanchez was actually the first ever Ultimate Fighter winner, with defeated Kenny Florian to take home the middleweight TUF crown earlier in the day. With all of the former cast members on the show either retired or not used by the UFC, the only exclusion remains to be Sanchez. The first to be crowned remains to be the last to grace the Octagon. When the contestants were announced for”The Ultimate Fighter 1,” Sanchez was the fighter with the most hype surrounding him. Since the undefeated King of the Cage champion, he backed up that hype in the Octagon winning all four of his fights, with three first-round stoppages such as a submission over Florian in the Finale. Even the true principal event of that card was completely overshadowed as Rich Franklin scored the biggest win of his career in the time over Ken Shamrock. For the ordinary fight fan Sanchez dominance of the series is easily forgotten as TUF 1 seems like it was forever ago. A lot can happen over a decade, and Sanchez’s lengthy r??sum?? proves it. He’s won a lot of conflicts and lost some, hopped branches, got sailed for marijuana, made six”Fight of the Night” bonuses along with two”Battle of the Year” (2006 Karo Parisyan, 2009 Clay Guida) honours, lost a lightweight title tilt to then-champ BJ Penn, altered his nickname in the”Nightmare” to the”Fantasy” and back into the”Nightmare” again and let’s not forget about him inventing the Yes! Cartwheel, just to name a couple. Overall going to war inside the Octagon on 21 separate occasions amassing as 14-7 record. According to his durability and age it was almost expected that Sanchez is going to be the final fighter we see within the Octagon and rightfully so. Much has been said about the whole cast of the series to the extent that Dana White said he had been essentially seeking to induct the entire TUF 1 throw to the UFC Hall of fame. It has been a well documented success story deserving of fairy tale type ending. However, what remains to be viewed by the die hard MMA fans is… IMG_1728Will Diego Sanchez venture out having a swan song of epic proportions in hopes of construction upon The Ultimate Fighter Seasons 1 cemented legacy? Diego Sanchez would tell you YES! YES! YES! Considering Sanchez’s recent time for a fighter, it’s more unlikely that anything of importance will come out of the rest of the time of his once famed career. The likely scenario and ultimate end game is equal to that of the vast majority of the rest of the TUF 1 cast members. The consensus is that many of the TUF 1 cast members went outside with a whimper facing the exact same troubling realities that Sanchez currently faces on a daily basis: accidents and age. Nearly all the contestants essentially were forced into retirement. As fans of the UFC, let’s expect Diego Sanchez can break this tendency and go out with a bang as it is likely he won’t go out anywhere close to the top. Finishing on a winning note is the best case scenario for”The Nightmare” at this point in his career. Taking a photo of Sanchez’s professional career, it’s likely he’ll leave the UFC kicking and screaming like others before him. What remains to be told is how and when. One can not deny it. The writing is on the wall without any real hope of championship ambitions in the not too distant future. Sit back and revel in the final of this TUF 1 display. However, dependent on Diego’s Sanchez latest turns of a occasions in his career prepare for a sad ending. The falling down in weight classes and layoff due to rehabbing injuries it’s creating a recipe for failure. Essentially it won’t be a dream come true for the nightmare. Quoting Connor McGregor in 2013:”The guy is a has-been.” IMG_1727Sanchez is expected to face Ricardo Lamas in a featherweight bout on November 21, 2015 in The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. This is Sanchez debut at featherweight regardless of the fact that he was the middleweight TUF 1 champion. Sanchez is hoping to take a run at championship glory despite facing the longest layoff of his professional MMA career (1 year 4 Months) and in 33 years old. The layoff is a result of a broken collarbone suffered in training. Many pundits credit the statement that he’s dropping a weight class for a way to acquire an eventually fight against Connor McGregor. But lots of MMA handicappers see this as sign of weakness as an attempt by Sanchez to stay relevant. Though many MMA mainstream fans fail to crown Diego Sanchez since the first Ultimate Fighter, he has out lasted them all. Being the youngest of this TUF 1 boxers it continues to work in his advantage but he’s fighting the age old issue of time. Irrespective of how durable Sanchez could be, it remains to be seen if he can pass this final test. As his admirable career rolls on, it’s clear Sanchez is no longer immune from the injury bug. However, there has to be something said to be the last of a dying breed. That accomplishment alone is deserving of all our respect since it’s left us without a doubt that he will always remain the toughest of the TUF. The initial Ultimate Fighter to be plotted within the Octagon and the last to depart.
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