Cory Sandhagen Eyes a Title Shot- Names His Ideal Pick Between Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling

Published 02/28/2021, 11:39 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: Cory Sandhagen reacts after his knockout victory over Frankie Edgar in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen spoke to UFC.com and gave an overview of his position as the top-ranked contender. ‘The Sandman’ is coming off the biggest win of his career against Frankie Edgar from early into February. The ‘KO of the Year’ candidate came in under 30 seconds as Sandhagen fired a flying knee that put out the durable Edgar.

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Additionally, the aforementioned performance came off the back of a sensational spinning wheel kick TKO of Marlon Moraes. With two back-to-back stoppage wins under his belt, Sandhagen managed to erase his UFC 250 loss to Aljamain Sterling. The defeat was a huge disappointment as Sandhagen lost his opportunity to fight for gold against Petr Yan.

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Cory Sandhagen looks ahead at what’s next

The Team Elevation standout was clear that a shot at bantamweight glory is what made sense going forward. However, he seemed determined to not rest on the power of his recent wins too much. It doesn’t seem to matter who steps in front of ‘The Sandman’, it’s a championship or bust going forward.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: Cory Sandhagen lands a flying knee to knock out Frankie Edgar in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I think the title shot is definitely option A. But at the same time, I’m not the guy that will dilly dally or act like I’m super deserving. Do I think I deserve it? Yeah, but I’m going to get to that world championship eventually,” said Sandhagen. “I want to get to the belt by earning it, I don’t want to be a smack talker. Don’t want to pick and choose fights. I want to take the fight regardless of who the opponent is and that’s how I earn the belt.”

‘The Sandman’ breaks down his pick UFC 259 bantamweight title fight

UFC 259 coming up this weekend will see Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling for Yan’s 135-pound strap. While knowing his own position in the division, Sandhagen went on to dissect both men who will be fighting for the belt. Not to mention, he also gave his pick for who would make for a better opponent when he gets his title shot eventually.

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“I don’t have an opinion about who wins but I imagine that as I watch, it will be a little bit more personal. It will almost be like I’m there,” said Sandhagen. “I’ll be very curious to what they will say afterward. Petr and Aljamain are different in a couple ways.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 06: Aljamain Sterling attempts to secure a rear choke submission against Cory Sandhagen in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Both guys would be super tasty wins, but with Aljo, and our history, embarrassing me like that, I have a fire way, way down inside that needs to get that one back at some point,” said Sandhagen. “I would really like to show that guy isn’t better than me. That would be a really big thing for me to prove to myself and prove to everyone else that I’m better. That would be the main course and the dessert.”

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Considering Cory Sandhagen’s blowout loss to Sterling, it’s easy to see why he’d want to run things back. However, ‘No Mercy’ Yan possesses certain tools that are stylistically difficult to combat for both Sterling and Sandhagen. UFC 259 will certainly be a defining match-up for the bantamweight division, and Sandhagen will most certainly be watching.

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Darryl Pinto

1460 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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