UFC star Diego Sanchez has made one fan’s dream come true after inviting him into the Octagon for his first ever fight despite suffering from Down’s Syndrome.
Isaac Marquez became famous earlier in the year after he struck up a friendship with Sanchez after meeting each other in the Jackson Wink MMA Academy gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sanchez stepped into the cage at the Jackson Wink Fight Night 2 card that took place at the Isleta Casino and Resort in Albuquerque on December 1. Diego’s opponent, Isaac Marquez, made his MMA debut that night and won with an armbar submission in the first round of their exhibition match.
It was also revealed that Marquez wanted to dedicate the fight to his late mother, who died of dementia.
Sanchez told Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he never expected his relationship and eventual fight with Marquez.
“I didn’t plan any of it at all,” said Sanchez, who appeared on the show with Marquez via Skype. “There was no plan to it. It was just me meeting someone, sharing love, sharing the mixed martial arts. For me, I’ve only improved and gotten better while training Isaac. Everything Isaac does, I train right there along with him.”
Marquez is such as die-hard fan of MMA that he plans on getting a UFC tattoo. In fact, Sanchez said that “The Shermanator” wants to get two UFC tattoos but talked Marquez to just limiting it to one.
Marquez, a.k.a. The Sherminator is living with Down syndrome, and Sanchez helped him get into fighting shape. In his first four months of training, Marquez lost nearly 25 pounds, eating a healthier diet and is serving as an inspiration to others.
“One of the coolest things was that he immediately lost weight, he would listen to me and eat healthier,” Sanchez said. “It’s amazing. It’s been an amazing journey and we’re only seven months into the journey and we only train once a week. … In the beginning, it was just let’s get this guy to be optimal, that way he can enjoy his life and be in better shape.”
“He’s a motivation for all of the Down syndrome community,” Sanchez said. “That even though you have Down syndrome, you can still have a dream. You can still believe in your dream and the dream is possible and it can come true if you really believe in it.”
Sanchez said Marquez wants next to fight John Dodson, another JacksonWink MMA competitor.