Ultimate Fighting Championship 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 ‘The Shermanator’ 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.
Marquez, 32, is a big mixed martial arts fan and an Instagram account in his name posted a number of pictures from inside the gym, where he posed with a belt said that he wanted to be just like Sanchez.
In a touching gesture, Sanchez then announced that Marquez will make his MMA debut against him – in front of a packed crowd at the Isleta Casino. It was also revealed that Marquez wanted to dedicate the fight to his late mother, who died of dementia.
“@isaacmarquezabq gets his big fight!” Sanchez said on Instagram. “He is dedicating it to his mom who died of dementia. This champion is one of the most positive motivating men that I have ever crossed paths with! MMA IS HIS PASSION AND HE LOVES @UFC come watch him fight me.”
Watch the fight below...
A post shared by Diego Sanchez (@diegonightmaresanchezufc) on Dec 3, 2017 at 5:24pm PST
Cheered on by a partisan crowd, Marquez defeated Sanchez with a first-round submission after putting the American UFC fighter in an armbar, and received a huge ovation when Sanchez tapped out, raising both arms in celebration as he soaked up the adulation.
“Most Down's Syndrome adults don't live past 45," Sanchez told local TV broadcaster's KRQE ahead of the bout. "Isaac is 32, and I just wanted to see this young man be healthy. Exercise and martial arts are one of the most healthy things you can do.
“He came to just come and check out the gym and I told him, 'You like MMA?' and he said, 'I love fighting', and then I said, 'Alright. Well are you here to just watch or do you want to train?' and he said, 'I want to train'.
“So, I said 'alright let's do this'. He believes it with all of his heart, so I am going to make it happen.”