After his second consecutive spectacular knockout, Cory Sandhagen has fully cemented himself as a title contender in the UFC’s bantamweight division but if he’s not next for a title fight after the upcoming one, he’s ready to face two former champions.
Following his 26-second knockout of Frankie Edgar, Sandhagen was asked about the future of the bantamweight division and the pending return of former champion, T.J. Dillashaw, who has called for a title shot upon a return to action from a two-year suspension. In his post-fight press conference, Sandhagen said it would be “garbage” if Dillashaw got a title fight once he returned to action. Currently, bantamweight champion Petr Yan is scheduled to defend his title against top-contender Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259 in March, meaning Sandhagen might have to wait around for the next title fight opportunity.
On Tuesday, Sandhagen made an appearance on ‘Unlocking The Cage’ with Jimmy Smith on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation and mentioned Dillashaw, and another former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, as fighters he’d like to face if a title fight is not next in line for him.
🔊 If a bantamweight title shot isn't next for Cory Sandhagen, @cors_life told @jimmysmithmma the two opponents he would take a fight with and how he stacks up against them on Unlocking The Cage 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Yj6Ltefoga
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) February 10, 2021
“I would take a fight with TJ [Dillashaw] or [Cody] Garbrandt. As opponents both of them are super tough, I just think I’m at a different place with me. Both of them were former champs, I don’t ever like to think that just because I want it more means I’m going to get it more. I think you lock me in the cage with both of those guys and I think that I’m not leaving a loser. I will not like lose to either one of those guys knowing that they had what I want and they want to come through me to get it again.”
Cory Sandhagen and Dillashaw used to be teammates but “The Sandman” says he lost all respect for the former champion after his suspension for EPO use.
“TJ, me and him used to be training partners, it’s kind of hard to have respect for that dude after his suspension and him using steroids. I think I’m next in line and it would really be a bummer if one of those two just got hop in front of me because they’re a little bit more popular and that’s the business side of the sport, and one day I’ll be able to make the calls for that too, but I’m not there in my career yet. I mean, as opponents man, I wouldn’t let either one of those guys beat me. The way I’ve been performing man, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had a couple more really nasty knockouts against those guys also.”
The good news for Cory Sandhagen is that he has a plan in place and it’s either the next title fight after UFC 259, or a fight with one of the two aforementioned former bantamweight champions. It’s hard to argue with giving Sandhagen what he deserves at this point, and any of the three options make great sense for the rising young star at 135 pounds.