ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

The man who Diego Sanchez once was has died. Ok, he didn't actually die, that was a figure of speech, but he literally almost died and figuratively actually died. He recently changed his nickname to 'El Corazón de León' and has been on his mission from God to inspire us all. He's been crushing mountains and giving motivational speeches in his truck since the start of his movement, but he's never told the story of the catalyst that caused the change. That is, until today's episode of The MMA Hour. We proudly present the greatest Diego Sanchez story ever told.

Chapter 1: The Next Level

It was three months ago. It starts as any good Diego Sanchez story would: Early morning wrestling training and afternoon runs to mountain tops. When you're lionhearted, that's just your warm-up, especially when you go to the gym later and Jon freakin' Jones is in the gym. You just have to take that s-word to the next level, son.

"We start throwing kicks. We started landing body slaps. We're just like little kids having fun with it, but we're going freakin' hard. We were going really, really hard. The first round ended and we're having so much fun we're just like, 'let's keep going, man,' we're not even going to stop during the break. I get some good positions on him, I go for some some armbars, I got real close to some finishes, I got the mount position and I'm able to hold him down in the mount position. So, I'm like even super more pumped stoked excited." — Diego Sanchez mad hyped about an epic roll with Jon Jones.

Chapter 2: This is the Big One, Elizabeth

"I snuck out the back door of the gym and I went and laid down outside on the grass. I was laying down for like 15-20 minutes and I was just meditating. Ok, alright, breathe, clam down, let's analyze this. I could just feel something in there. I knew I wasn't having such a bad heart attack that I had to be rushed to the hospital that I was going to die, but I had something going on with me. Something had happened inside. Something happened with one of my valves in my heart that I couldn't get enough oxygen." — Diego Sanchez trying to mentally decipher his ailment.

Chapter 3: Spirit Quest

In a situation that would send anyone driving 100mph to the emergency room, Diego Sanchez looked to God instead. He deprived himself from food and would only allow Kengan alkaline 9.5 micro-clustered water, fresh beet juice, and tumeric to enter his temple. The man formerly known as The Nightmare, was going through his own.

"Instead of going to the hospital. Man, I just got freakin' oldschool. Like, oldschool Old Testament Bible. Like, oldschool oldschool. I believe in miracles. I'm just going to fast and I'm going to pray. I told everyone I got the flu. I told everyone at the gym and I even told my wife I got the flu. I was afraid to tell anyone. Like, what if my career is over? Am I done? Is this it? God please, no." — Diego Sanchez talking about his career flashing before his eyes.

Chapter 4: A Change of Heart

"People will call me crazy for what I'm about to say, but this really did happen to me. This is how The Lionheart came about. I was in the state of a fasted mind state, when I'm in like a near-death life, near-career ending situation. I'm real. I'm being real and being real with myself and being real with God. That's when I get this feeling like, can you inspire millions to be The Nightmare? Can you inspire little kids to be nightmares? I'm like, oh sh-t. Then it's like, can you inspire the kids with cancer to be nightmares? I felt like your nickname should inspire you as a fighter." — Diego Sanchez's nickname epiphany.

Chapter 5: Faith Rewarded

After spending time in the spirit lands and conversing with higher powers, he left his fate in the hands and minds of men. Diego Sanchez finally decided to enter into those white halls of a medical facility to try and determine what happened. Perhaps, finally confronting his own fear of the unknown and impending tragic news he never wanted to hear.

"They put me on the machines, check the EKG, put all these things on, hook my heart up, check the blood pressure and make sure everything's all good. I say one last little prayer. [...] They hook me up, and they do the rests, and the craziest part of the story is this: They do the tests. They come into the room. They're like Diego, you have a perfectly fine, healthy heart. We cannot find anything wrong with you. At that moment that they told me that, the feeling in my heart went away and it was gone. After that, I resume my life as a fighter. I resume my life as Diego Sanchez, but now I'm Lionheart because I received a miracle that day. They told it must have been a muscular injury. Muscular injury? I must have head every muscular injury in the book!" — Diego Sanchez on being made whole again.

Chapter 6: Satan's Lettuce


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