Diego Sanchez: Kiss on the nose from Craig White 'did me a favor'

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DALLAS – You wouldn’t have guessed it by his reaction at the time, but Diego Sanchez was glad that Craig White leaned in and gave him a little kiss on the nose at the UFC 228 ceremonial weigh-ins.

Why? Mostly because it helped solidify the mindset that Sanchez (28-11 MMA, 17-11 UFC) had been trying to adopt as he prepared for this bout, one that eschewed sportsmanship in favor of savagery, and once White kissed him he no longer felt the least bit bad about refusing to shake the man’s hand.

“I was like, honestly? He did me a favor,” Sanchez said backstage after his unanimous decision win at UFC 228 in Dallas on Saturday night. “After all the fights I’ve been in, the KO losses, the injuries, the knee injuries, Marcin Held was trying to rip my leg off and left me with a knee injury, the hand injury, all these injuries that come with it. And the brain injuries are the worst. Getting cracked in the nose by Joe Lauzon and breaking my nose. I realized this is the sport of war. So sportsmanship, it doesn’t really apply to this sport. We’re warriors. And you have to have in your mind’s-eye intention that I’m going out there to hurt this man.”

Part of that attitude came from his new teammate, Mike Perry. According to Sanchez, the UFC welterweight “rubbed off” on him in some ways that were ultimately helpful in a hurting game like this one.

“That savage killer, I was like, you know maybe that’s why God brought (Perry) on the team, because I needed to let that savage killer, the real ‘Nightmare,’ back out,” Sanchez said. “ … This isn’t about shaking hands. This isn’t about showing respect. This isn’t about being friends. This isn’t about being the most respectful. This is about being the most vicious killer that you can in your mind, in your heart, in your training.”

That served Sanchez well in this fight, as he earned a much-needed win that will help to put a little distance between himself and the retirement questions that have hounded him in the wake of a two-fight losing streak.

Before this fight, Sanchez made clear that he has no intention of hanging up the gloves at 36, even after more than 16 years as a pro. What he hoped to prove with his win here was that he might know a few secrets about staying young in body and mind, even in a brutal sport.

“The reason that I have been able to stick around so long in this sport is because I am an adaptive man,” Sanchez said. “I am able to adapt.”

Sanchez proved to be miles ahead of the younger man in this bout. He took White (14-9 MMA, 0-2 UFC) down with relative ease, then mauled him with..

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