Why UFC Fighter Diego Sanchez Is Proud He Lost A Bout Against This Superfan

“Probably my all-time favorite, best fight of my career.”

This spring, UFC superfan Isaac Marquez met veteran fighter Diego Sanchez. And on December 1, Marquez fought Sanchez in the cage, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

These two friends met at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. "He came to just come and check out the gym and I told him, 'You like MMA?' and he said, 'I love fighting,' and then I said, 'Alright. Well, are you here to just watch or do you want to train?' and he said, 'I want to train.' So, I said alright let's do this," Sanchez told KRQE.

Marquez, a.k.a. The Sherminator, is living with Down syndrome, and Sanchez helped him get into fighting shape. In his first four-months training, for example, Marquez lost nearly 25 pounds.

"Most Down syndrome adults don't live past 45," Sanchez told KRQE. "Isaac is 32, and I just wanted to see this young man be healthy. Exercise and martial arts are one of the most healthy things you can do."

Sanchez, the 2005 Ultimate Fighter middleweight tournament champ, soon offered Marquez a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a title fight at Albuquerque's Isleta Casino and Resort. Marquez would be fighting for his late mother, who lived with dementia, Sanchez said.

The UFC star may have been punching above his weight, so to speak: Marquez trapped him in an armbar maneuver, winning the bout.

"Isaac had a dream and he went after it," the pro told reporters after the bout, per Newsday. "He earned it and he got it. So anybody out there, if you have a dream, believe in yourself and go for it."

"Unbelievable moment in my career," he told KRQE. "Probably my all-time favorite, best fight of my career, and you are my hero, Isaac. I love you." 

"I love you too, Diego," Marquez responded.

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