Cory Sandhagen landed a spinning heel kick right on the top of the head of Marlon Moraes in the main event of UFC Fight Island 5. Once that kick landed, Moraes dropped to the canvas and the referee stopped the fight.
“I knew that I could (win that way), but that wasn’t the plan,” Sandhagen said in his post-fight press conference. “I was just going to be free, man. I was just going to be myself. He’s really dangerous. I was just going to keep myself safe and just wear on him and fight him how I fight him.”
The impressive win puts Sandhagen (13-2) back in the win column after suffering his only UFC loss at UFC 250 in June. In that fight, Sandhagen was submitted by Alijamain Sterling in the first round.
Sterling is expected to be next to fight newly crowned bantamweight champion Petr Yan. Once the fight is booked, Sandhagen will make sure he’s a position to get a title fight if either Yan or Sterling can’t make the walk to the octagon on the night of their fight.
“Honestly, I’ve been doing that for a year or two now where it’s like, ‘OK, there’s a big fight coming up. I don’t have a fight coming up. I’m going to keep my weight low, and I’m going to stay ready,’” Sandhagen said. “I’ve been doing that in camp. I’ve been doing that almost the whole time I’ve been in the UFC. But, yeah, I’m definitely going to do that now because I think I’m probably the No. 1 guy if one of those guys gets hurt.”
Sandhagen did make one thing clear. Sterling is next in line.
“I would feel really bad if they did me and Yan, and they did that to Sterling. That being said, it’s a dog-eat-dog sport, you know? So if they give me that shot, I’m taking that shot. But I think it should be Sterling and Yan.”
While Sandhagen plans on being in shape to fill in for a title fight, he does know who he wants to fight next. He would like to share the octagon with a former champion and he has two names in mind.
“The only other two other guys that have an argument are Frankie (Edgar) and T.J. (Dillashaw). (Maybe I fight) one of those guys before they end up fighting each other,” Sandhagen said. “Hopefully I’m not this little name after this. Hopefully I have some pull in the sport because that’s kind of where I feel like I’ve been. They’re giving me really good fights, but I never felt like if I called someone out it was going to get a lot of juice. But I think I got some juice tonight.”