Fight veteran Diego Sanchez has been much talked about over the past two weeks. The 40-year-old welterweight and his controversial coach Joshua Fabia have been consistently making headlines before and after UFC Rio Rancho on 15 February.

The Ultimate Fighter season one winner received widespread condemnation for opting not to fight on after receiving an illegal knee during his bout against Michel Pereira. The co-main event ultimately ended in a third round DQ victory for Sanchez who was most likely two rounds down on the judge’s scorecards.

Fabia was also in the firing line for the advice he was giving Sanchez between rounds and during the fight. An entire transcript was written up of his corner work at UFC Rio Rancho and ridiculed online. Many continued to question his coaching credentials, but Sanchez insisted he’ll be sticking by his trainer when speaking to MMA Junkie, he said.

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“I could address that very easily. Joshua is my brother, my mentor, my guide, my manager, my trainer.

“This has been the most disrespectful that my fans and the masses of the MMA community have addressed me in my career – just throwing all the hits and all the traumas that I took in the 16 years in the UFC. All this trauma that I took, I paid the price for the experience to make my own decisions in what is best for me going forward.

“I have always been different than everybody else and maybe that’s why I’ve lasted so long, alright. I continue to thrive in a special, unique, unorthodox approach that has led me to Joshua. And what he’s done for me, how this side of mixed martial arts is amazing, and you really should look into it and become aware of that.”

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After 20-years in the game Sanchez insists he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He also says fans should trust he knows what he’s doing with these unorthodox training methods.

“I don’t look like I’m going anywhere,” Sanchez said. “I’m speaking healthy, and this is more than a fighting career because Diego Sanchez – the UFC fighter, the identity – that’s been done and dead. I am Diego Sanchez, the human being now.

“And so now that I step into this part of my purpose in life, understand that I’m making these decisions, I’m thinking about this. I’m putting my heart, my mind, my daughter, and my mother and father – the three people that I have to take care of. I’m doing everything in the best of my ability, in the best way that I can for my future. And that includes standing up to the bullies who were taking advantage of me and not treating me correctly.

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Sanchez confirmed discussions about his next fight are already on-going although he didn’t reveal any potential dates or opponents.

“That’s a private meeting, so I’ll keep it very limited to – I’m moving forward, I am healthy, and I’m excited to do what I do,” Sanchez said. “I do this very passionately. I do love it. I am truly not fighting for only money and for all my retirement. No, I love being this person and having this voice to speak right now and have my fans listen. Just know that I’m healthy and my spirit is strong and I’m not going anywhere. I’m holding on.”

Is Diego Sanchez right to stick by his controversial coach Joshua Fabia?