Hard Knocks: 10 Fighters That Define Toughness

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Diego Sanchez

Fight to Watch: Diego Sanchez vs. Gilbert Melendez – UFC 166

Diego Sanchez, like Griffin, was one of the two men to win the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Sanchez, a Greg Jackson product of proud Mexican heritage, is and always will be known as one of the grittiest fighters in the game. For decades, Mexico has been known to produce some of the toughest and most consistent boxers in the world, and although Sanchez made his name in the MMA world, he didn’t disappoint his cultural precedents.

Known for his ‘in your face’ style, Sanchez evolved from a ground and pound artist into a fighter that preferred to stand and trade. That stylistic transition led Sanchez down a path of destruction, mostly for his opponents. Evidence of his ‘blow for blow’ style can be found in his win over Clay Guida or in his gutsy loss to Gilbert Melendez.

The bout with Melendez was a whirlwind affair, as both fighters stood and traded for nearly all three rounds. Although Melendez was getting the better of the high-impact exchanges, Sanchez stayed on the former Strikeforce champion with his moment of glory coming in the third frame, dropping the California Native and nearly finishing the bout. The fight proved that even when Sanchez appears outmatched, his heart and will to win always gives him a real shot at victory.

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