Trout, a former WBA champion, and UFC veteran Sanchez will make their bareknuckle boxing debuts Friday night when they meet at BKFC Knucklemania 3 in Albuquerque, N.M. The event streams live on pay-per-view on FITE.TV.
Trout, 37, is on a five-fight boxing winning streak, which includes a recent victory on December 9. Sanchez, however, is coming off a significantly longer layoff from competition as he most recently dropped a unanimous decision in mixed martial arts to Kevin Lee in March 2022 at Eagle FC 46.
Sanchez, now 41, also acknowledges this could be his swan song.
“It could be my last fight, the way the world is going right now,” Sanchez said Thursday at Knucklemania 3 media day, via KRQE. “I feel like God’s coming back, and I’m rapture-ready.”
Trout took Sanchez’s comments about a possible final fight a step further.
“Oh, it’s going to be his last fight,” Trout said.. “He already knows that I’m about to retire this cat. That’s funny. He’s like, ‘This is my last.’ But you know what they say about the dying lion. The dying tiger is most dangerous. So, I have not taken this lightly, but yeah, I believe I’m going to retire him.”
Sanchez told MMA Junkie Radio last month that he expects to be “very dominant” against Trout, but many would say it’s a dangerous fight for the first-evet champion of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
For starters, Sanchez needed extra testing to be cleared by the New Mexico commission to compete at Knucklemania 3. And there’s little doubt who is more skilled with his hands.
Trout speaks like a man who is well aware of this.
“I was all for the New Mexico OGs to fight, and we jumped through hoops to get cleared to make sure he is able to fight,” Trout, whose first-career boxing loss was to Canelo Alvarez in 2013, told Just Scrap Radio (h/t MMA Mania). “Nonetheless, he passed all the medical exams so we have a fight. God willing we both walk away healthy and happy, maybe him not so happy but more so healthy.
“I’m going to knock his ass out. He is too tough for his own good. I’m going to body him, meaning I will go to his body and save him the head trauma.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Knucklemania 3.