Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kicking it, New Mexico style: A few words with Diego Sanchez

By Roberto Cepeda

In the world of MMA, it seems helpful to know as much about your opponent as possible. Josh Koscheck will soon enter the ring to do battle with UFC’s premier Young Turk, Diego Sanchez, who happens to have a Hispanic heritage.

Koscheck and others may call Sanchez “weird”, but the truth is that this young man who is a paradox, seemingly spiritual but with the heart of a lion. Notice how Sanchez is introspective as he meditates preparing to do battle, calling up a strength that seems to be reserved for those who recognize a higher force. Watch as his eyes focus on his opponent and beware of the fury that emanates from a warrior who forges his craft with the intent of conquering. Diego fights with an intensity that is usually reserved for life and death battles.

Diego, a native of New Mexico, has a heritage that is second to none when comparing a warrior culture and the will to wager all in order to realize one’s dream. Diego’s forefathers came from Spain and crossed an ocean and landed on a new world. This world was faced with dangers at every turn. Spanish dreams came face to face with a culture that had been firmly established for thousands of years. Thus the seemingly perennial battle of pitting one man’s vision against another’s. Yet this battle had no room for error, it was conquer or be conquered.

Forge your world in spite of an inhospitable land or perish. This is the heritage that is a part of Diego, a warrior culture that fought for survival for hundreds of years. This culture was formed hundreds of years here before any Anglo arrived on the Mayflower.

Perhaps, now one can better understand a bit of the passion and desire to dominate that seems to run freely in Diego’s nature. A person familiar with this heritage can understand the apparent duality of a quiet, courteous young man who can suddenly turn into a dueling warrior who seems to be fighting for the honor of his person and family.

InsideFighting spent some time talking with Sanchez recently.

InsideFighting: So what have you been up to in preparation for your upcoming fight in Houston on April 7th with Koscheck? You were in Puerto Rico not too long ago, training with Oscar De La Hoya correct? (De La Hoya is in Puerto Rico preparing for his May 5th mega bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.)

Diego Sanchez: I was in Puerto Rico for about a month, training with Oscar De La Hoya with strength and conditioning coach Rob Garcia. We worked out at Wilfredo Gomez’s gym. We had Oscar working out with us; I’m a fan of his. His presence helps me achieve the most I can. I’ve known Oscar for a few years since we share the same strength coach, Rob Garcia. I appreciate his warrior heart, he fights going forward, he’s not afraid. He’s a very strong athlete, mentally tough. I have the same aggression.

IF:Oscar has recently talked of passing the torch to you; do you think he meant capturing an international following?

Diego: Oscar has done what no one has done before, capturing a large female following as well as a large international fan base; I think he’s referring to this. I’ve been working on my boxing skills. I want to keep knocking out my opponents, I want the boxing fans. The Mexican boxing fans are used to good boxing technique. If I can start a knock out streak, this will bring a good crowd, a Latino fan base.”

(Continue Reading)

No comments: