It’s been over 10 years since Diego Sanchez competed in front of his Albuquerque fans. The former Ultimate Fighter winner will see his career come “full-circle” this evening when he meets Ross Pearson in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 42.

Prior to entering TUF, Sanchez was a staple in New Mexico, winning his first 11 fights – eight of which took place in his home state.

However, this marks the first time he’s been able to showcase his skills inside the Octagon in Albuquerque; and he doesn’t plan to waste the moment.

“It feels like I’ve come full circle after all those battles,” said Sanchez, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “I’ve had 20 fights in the UFC. It’s a dream come true.

“I’ve been waiting to fight int his high altitude for a long time.”

Sanchez (24-7) trains at Jackson’s MMA and is coming off back-to-back decision losses to Myles Jury and Gilbert Melendez. Back in 2005, he became TUF champion by defeating Kenny Florian.

Over the course of his UFC career, Sanchez has competed for the UFC lightweight title against BJ Penn, fought in different weight classes, changed his nickname from “The Nightmare” to “The Dream” and left plenty of blood inside the cage.

To defeat Pearson, also a former TUF winner, Sanchez says he will resort to the “Matt Brown blueprint.”

“Put the pressure on him and get him tired,” he said. “Chase him down and cut the cage off. If I have the opportunity to take the fight to the ground, I will. I’ve been working on my striking and I’m going to look for the knockout.”

Pearson (15-6) caught wind of the final statement made by Sanchez, responding on Twitter, “He is right I will win via a KO.”