Faith; through the eyes of the “Nightmare”
Exclusive interview with Diego Sanchez
Written by Penny Buffington
Ever wonder why an athlete who is about to fight in a mixed martial arts event would be giving glory to God? UFC fighter Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez gives a look into what his faith means to him and why he always gives the glory to God. Diego explains; to him faith is a matter of religion as well as a spiritual thing. “I consider myself a believer. I believe in Jesus Christ and that he died on the cross for our sins that is what my fundamental belief is. Religion is spiritual. I do go to Church and I do read the Bible. I do study because that is the word of God and you should. But of course it is a spiritual thing.”
The 27 year old UFC mixed martial arts fighters parents brought him up to “believe” in God and his son Jesus Christ, lovingly teaching him the ways of the Bible. “It is what I was born into. Mom had a big influence on teaching me the right way. My parents were Catholics growing up and then they converted to Christians whenever they were pregnant with me.”
Even though “Nightmares” parents wanted him to believe, it really is a choice that had to be made by Diego himself. “You know many things have happened in my life. The trials the tribulations, everybody has their stories, where they went wrong and what they did wrong. As for me, I am the type of person I want to find out on my own. And time and time again God has always let me know from what my Mom and Dad was telling me from the beginning was always the truth. But you know being a kid and being kind of stubborn you want to find out the truth for yourself. Usually in most cases you need to learn the hard way. And I did!”
“Getting into my older age I am starting to finally find wisdom and make better decisions and smarter choices.” Diego admits to making mistakes, “From my turning my back on the laws of God; dancing with the devil and temptation and sin. That wasn’t going to do anything; but digging myself into a hole, that I would eventually have to pull myself out of. Lucky for us we have a very forgiving God. That is why he gave his only begotten son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins.”
As for Church Diego says, “ I go to The Rock in San Diego and when I am in different places I go to different churches.”
Diego believes in making time to dedicate thoughts and prayers to God. “I do tai chi and I do Qigong energy meditation and I always incorporate my scripture into everything that I do. Whether it be running on the treadmill. Whether it be working out. I’m always constantly reciting scriptures in my mind and communicating with God. Another thing that I recently started to do was writing down all my prayers in a notepad. I’ve had huge success with that by writing everything down.”
Diego starts his day with a text message from his boxing coach. “My boxing coach sends me Bible verses. He text messages me bible verses every morning. I read those and I start my day out like that. I try to get a little wisdom from what he sends me. I’m also looking into joining a Bible study fellowship. Ali does it, so I want to start doing that with her.” Diego’s girlfriend is Ali Sonoma, a former UFC octagon ring girl.
Being a Christian isn’t all that complicated to Diego, “Christian is basically, following the 10 commandments, that is basically what it comes down to.”
Before and after every fight Diego Sanchez can be heard giving all the glory to God. He explains, "I’m giving the glory to him. I am thankful for everything. I give him the victory. I do not consider the victory as mine. It is his. I envision being one of his warriors and giving him the glory, “HIM”. Saying look, this win wasn’t really me winning, it was him winning, through me, by me giving and putting it out there so people can say, look, this guy is giving God credit for his victory.”
The finale thoughts Diego shared with me were, “No matter how down and out you are all things are possible through Jesus Christ. I’m a true witness to that. I have a great life. It’s all because of him. I give him the glory. I give him the credit.” Next time you hear a fighter mentioning God remember that faith is a beautiful thing. Any time someone wants to give God a shout out, it’s a good thing!
Diego praying in the UFC octagon before an event, picture taken and provided by Kasey Anne Leech: