Local product Matt Hughes is set to face Diego Sanchez in the co-main event of UFC 135 coming up next month in Denver, Colorado. And the hometown hero will be facing a man who has rededicated himself to MMA. In a recent radio interview, “The Dream” spoke about the troubles he encountered after losing to BJ Penn at UFC 107:
“I lost control of life. I had just made my biggest payday and I was just down about the loss. That was my dream to become world champion, and it still is. But it was at my fingertips and the way I lost, getting cut, so brutally cut, I was beat up…I let a person that I thought was a friend, a real close friend, someone that would help me with finances, I had him helping me out with stuff.
“Turned out I got embezzled for over $170,000. He conned me…I was sucked into a life of sin. I was smoking weed, I was drinking, partying and it just really, truly held me back from my potential.”
Following the darkness, Sanchez began training with Greg Jackson again and is 2-1 under the tutelage of his old master:
“I knew I had to make that change. I moved out to the mountains, 30 minutes outside of Albuquerque. I just changed my whole life. I went from living a rockstar life, which I figured out was just a big lie. It was not true happiness, it sucked me in. It ate me apart.
“Greg Jackson always told me that if I ever wanted to come back, the door was always open. That gym was my gym, ‘this is your house, no matter what. This will always be your house.'”