Diego Sanchez leaves
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Diego Sanchez has left his longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) gym of Jackson-Wink MMA ahead of his Octagon return.

Sanchez will be making his return to action at UFC 239 next month against Michael Chiesa at 170 pounds. During UFC 239 media day this week, Sanchez revealed he has actually departed Jackson-Wink MMA and will only be working with one training partner moving forward (via MMA Junkie):

“I made a crucial decision,” Sanchez said. “This is a Diego Sanchez moment. I made a crucial decision. It’s three weeks before the fight. No more JW – Jackson-Wink, one of the best teams in the world. No. I’m going in with one trainer. I’m going in with one trainer. People are like, ‘Wow, what the hell, Diego? What are you thinking?’

Well, I’m not only thinking, I’m feeling. That’s a big part of who Diego Sanchez is: I don’t think too much. I don’t think it’s good to think too much. I think you’ve got to feel. You’ve got to feel this – your gut. You’ve got to feel this part right here that’s inside of you. All I know is I wasn’t learning.

I wasn’t growing as a mixed martial artist, that they were teaching me with the knowledge and information as trainers that they were doing. They were just basically going through the motions with Diego Sanchez.”

UFC 239 goes down live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 6. Despite his departure from Jackson-Wink, however, he has nothing negative to say about the gym or its trainers – Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson:

“Nothing but respect for Winkeljohn and Greg,” Sanchez said. “I love those guys. I am grateful and I express a huge amount of gratitude right now to both Mike Winkeljohn, to Greg Jackson, to Jackson’s MMA. Everything. All the way up.

All the training parters that got in that room and helped me become the man that I am right now, I appreciate. For this time in my career, there was no focus on Diego. There was no real love on Diego Sanchez.

Maybe because we’ve got two belt fights, Jon (Jones) and Holly (Holm at UFC 239), but you know what? I don’t give a (expletive). I don’t give a (expletive). I’m Diego Sanchez. I am special. I’m a Hall of Famer.”

Has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) for the past several years. Also covers professional wrestling for WrestleZone and EWrestlingNews, and the Houston Texans for USA Today's Texans Wire.