UFC Lincoln: TUF 23 Winner Andrew Sanchez Back on the Right Path

Ultimate Fighter 23 winner Andrew Sanchez feels as though he’s back on the right path after picking up an important win at UFC Lincoln on Saturday night.

Lincoln, NB — TUF 23 light heavyweight winner Andrew Sanchez got back in the win column for the first time in over a year and a half at UFC Lincoln on Saturday. Over that stretch, he’d dropped two straight fights. ‘El Dirte’ admitted after the bout, a unanimous decision win over Markus Perez, that he had to quiet some doubts during that rough stretch.

Yet more than anything, he missed the feeling of winning. “I was thinking about this before the fight,” Sanchez said back stage at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, NB. “I miss that f*cking feeling where you’re doing a camp, you’re thinking about it like ‘I want to win so bad,’ and you’re worried about the loss and all the bad things that can happen. And finally you win, it’s just amazing, you’re just overcome with relief. You get a week, two weeks, whatever you want, to do whatever you want.”

“Anyway I just miss that feeling,” he added. “I wanted to feel it so bad, and I’m feeling it right now.” Basking in the glow of victory, in other words.

“It’s been a year and a half since I got a win. I had two hard losses,” Sanchez explained. “Took a long time between each one, because I knew something was wrong. Last fight was eight months ago, I’ve been training since, up at TriStar. Eight month camp, man. Just to fix whatever was wrong. It feels good to know I’m on the right path.”

No question, there were doubts during his losing streak, even if it was just a pair of fights. After all, it doesn’t take much to lose your spot in the UFC. “Your mind starts to play tricks on you,” said Sanchez. “‘Did I lose it? Did I get lazy, because I got to the UFC?’ Anything you can think of, to doubt yourself, that pops into your mind, you’ve got to just block that out.”

One of the keys to blocking that out is having the right people around you, Sanchez suggested, which he feels he has with TriStar.

As for opponent Markus Perez, at least one thing surprised Sanchez in the fight Saturday night. “I’ve seen his past tapes, and with really heavy pressure, he freaks out, he runs, sprints across the cage, so we knew he didn’t deal well with pressure,” he explained. However, “he was holding his ground a little more than I expected. In the clinch, he had good takedown defense, he was incredibly slippery and scrambly.”

Sanchez, however, knew he didn’t have to force it. And in the end, he did exactly what he needed to do. That earned him a 29-28 score on all three judges scorecards, improving his record to 10-4 overall.

Watch the full UFC Lincoln post-fight interview with Andrew Sanchez above!