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Diego Sanchez credits Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for introducing him to hot yoga

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According to a March 13 report from MMA Mania, Diego Sanchez gives credit to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for showing him that yoga isn't a tool of the devil.

Sanchez, 32, knows he isn't a spring chicken anymore, in the realm of MMA at least. He admits to be creeping up in age, but he says a new hot yoga program will be the key to longevity in his fighting career.

For a while, Sanchez stayed away from yoga because he was told that it was a tool of the devil. Sanchez, who fights Myles Jury at UFC 171, is extremely religious, and he didn't want to do anything that would go against God.

However, he quickly realized it was just a myth that yoga goes against religion in any way.

For many years I got away from it because of religion. I heard somewhere [that] yoga was bad for you and it's from the devil. So I got away from it. But, in the end result I said, 'Hey man, God created us and our body is a temple. This is excellent for my temple. I'm scrubbing the walls, I'm making the pillars stronger, I'm out there mowing the lawn. I'm taking all the toxins out. I'm taking care of this temple like no other.' So I said, 'No man, that's a lie. God loves yoga. God created our bodies for us to take care of 'em and to do amazing things and be great. So I've been back to my yoga and it's completely taken me to another level: grappling, striking, everywhere. I have the limberness. I'm able to move like I never have before. I give a lot of credit to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the leading all time scorer in the NBA. He's the one who motivated me to get into this yoga, because he claims it was his secret to playing [at] 42 years old. I went back to what got me in UFC and I've had great results. I truly am better than I've ever been right now.

During Sanchez's UFC 171 pre-fight media scrum, he also said he's no longer a brawler. If he wants to have a long career, he knows every fight can't be an all-out slugfest.

"My motivation is one thing and one thing only, and that's to be great. Show my greatness," Sanchez said. "I'm done being good. I'm done being some brawler. I'm going to go in there and show greatness, because greatness is inside of me. I've shown little peaks and little moments throughout my career, but I'm tired of that.

"I went to work on my footwork. I also knew I was a headhunter in the (Melendez) fight, so I had to change up my whole striking style. What they're preparing for, what Tony Palafox and (UFC 171 opponent) Myles Jury are preparing for is Diego Sanchez-Gilbert Melendez, the Diego Sanchez that was in San Diego because they all knew me in San Diego. But that's not the Diego Sanchez that's going in there.

"I'm the Diego Sanchez who has diversified my striking to become a complete kickboxing fighting machine, with straight punches, with hooks, with kicks," Sanchez continued. "I've got all these different weapons in my toolbox to fight in this fight. When I get in the cage with Myles Jury, he's not going to know what's hitting him.

UFC 171, which features a welterweight title bout between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler in the headlining slot, is set for this weekend in Dallas, Texas.

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