Diego Sanchez feels he still has more to give in the sport of MMA.

“The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner and UFC Hall of Famer had a rather anticlimactic departure from the UFC. Instead of being celebrated for his contribution and achievements inside the octagon, Sanchez was released over medical and health concerns.

Sanchez (30-13) was offered a deal by Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship but wound up signing with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s promotion, Eagle FC, despite getting a more lucrative offer to throw down without the gloves.

“I was going to get paid $75,000 more to go do BKFC,” Sanchez told MMA Junkie Radio. “But being the Diego Sanchez that I am, I believe in myself and all the skills and the knowledge and the wisdom that I’ve attained over this course of the last 20 years, and the way my career ended in the UFC was not Diego Sanchez fashion. That was orchestrated by my handler, and so I really wanted to truly finish my mixed martial arts legacy and career my way. Diego Sanchez intuition, intuitiveness, working through whatever I’ve got to work through, but training smart and doing my martial arts.”

Sanchez, who signed a three-fight deal with Eagle FC, will face fellow ex-UFC fighter Kevin Lee (18-7) in the main event of Eagle FC 46 on March 11. Coming off a tough battle with COVID-19 which rendered him hospitalized and facing a fighter who’s a decade younger, Sanchez knows he’s in for a tough test, but he insists he’s ready.

“Now it’s my time to go out there and show my true skills because with Kevin Lee, he’s 29, and I’m 40, and he’s a very athletic man,” Sanchez said. “So with that being said, going into this fight, the only thing that can really win me this fight is skill. Skill and understanding, timing, speed and making the right move at the right time with zero hesitation.

“So that’s what I’m doing. I’m in shape. I’m getting in the best shape I could get in in six weeks, and I’m coming with my A game. I’m excited for 165. It’s a new weight division. My frame fits that division, so it’s looking good, and I’m excited for it.”

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