Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Diego Sanchez has had plenty of thrilling moments in the octagon, including partaking in three “Fight of the Year” bouts. But none of his forty-plus professional fights was as gratifying as his fight against a friend.


On December 1, 2017, at the at Isleta Resort and Casino, Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez entered the cage to face off against his buddy Isaac “The Shermanator” Marquez — who has Down syndrome — as part of Jackson Wink Fight Night 2.

Marquez defeated Sanchez with a first-round submission armbar win and received a huge ovation when his much larger and more experienced rival tapped out.


In advance of the fight, Marquez went to Albuquerque’s 3D Kutz Barber Shop to get a haircut in the style of his idol.

''Most Down syndrome adults don’t live past 45. 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.''

— Diego Sanchez, on friend Isaac Marquez

Following the fight, the pair were interviewed by famed MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. Marquez revealed he had dedicated the fight to his late mother who passed away from dementia.


Sanchez bounced back in a big way in the two fights following his loss to Marquez. At UFC 228 in 2018, he defeated Craig White by unanimous decision, then won “Performance of the Night” for his electrifying win over Mickey Gall at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019.