UFC veteran Diego Sanchez says win over Held was ‘a dream come true’

Last night, Diego Sanchez picked up his best win in years.

The 14-year MMA veteran and original winner of The Ultimate Fighter beat 24-year-old Marcin Held at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale.

Held started off strong, beating Sanchez to the punch and almost choking him out in the first round, but ‘The Nightmare’s’ experience, cardio and tenacity proved to be too much for the UFC newcomer. Sanchez fended off submission attempts in rounds two and three and established himself as the dominant grappler, picking up a clear-cut unanimous decision.

When speaking to MMA Junkie after the bout, Sanchez said winning in front of the Mexican crowd was a dream come true.

“This a dream come true,” Sanchez said. “I always read about Mexico City, and I saw the fight with Cain (Velasquez) and how he gassed out. It really is the hardest city to fight in in the world.”

Sanchez, who is known as a cardio machine, trains at a high altitude at JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, but admits that the 7,350 ft altitude of Mexico City really tested his conditioning.

“It just takes your cardio away,” he said. “Tonight, the Mexican fans gave me a second and a third wind. It was something I’ll never forget in my life, hearing the fans cheering my name. It was a dream come true.”

Last night marked Sanchez’ 24th fight in the UFC and the BJJ black belt is still considered one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Sanchez suffered the first clean TKO loss of his career against Joe Lauzon at UFC 200 but proved that he can still be somewhat competitive in the promotion’s most stacked division.