Cory Sandhagen Accepts Umar Nurmagomedov’s Challenge for International Fight Week: ‘Let’s Go At It’

Sandhagen is willing to go through Nurmagomedov if it means getting a guaranteed bantamweight title opportunity

Cory Sandhagen
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Cory Sandhagen will happily accept Umar Nurmagomedov‘s challenge for International Fight Week.

Following his dominant unanimous decision victory over Bekzat Almakhan on March 2, Nurmagomedov called for a clash with Sandhagen, suggesting the two bantamweight superstars square off this summer in what could be a potential bantamweight title eliminator. 

Responding to the undefeated Dagestani standout during a recent interview, ‘Sandman’ made it clear that he’s 100% on board for the pairing, so long as a win guarantees him a shot at the 135-pound crown. 

“I have no problem fighting Umar, especially if they’re telling me that it’s for a No. 1 contender spot,” Sandhagen told CBS Sports. “If they’re that high on him, then yeah, let’s go at it. Decide who should be fighting for the belt next and then let’s solidify this thing for me so that there’s no more question of whether it should be me, or someone else. If I win the next one against Umar, there’s absolutely no argument that I feel like I shouldn’t be fighting for the belt next.”

Cory Sandhagen Could Be Waiting a While for His Shot

Even if Sandhagen gets his wish, he could be waiting a while for his shot at the bantamweight division’s top prize. On Saturday, March 9, reigning titleholder ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley is scheduled to defend the belt against the only man to have bested him inside the Octagon thus far, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. The winner of that bout will likely move on to face No. 1 ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili later this year. 

After suffering back-to-back losses against T.J. Dillashaw and Petr Yan in 2021, Cory Sandhagen bounced back with three straight wins, including victories over Song Yadong, Marlon Vera, and Rob Font. He currently sits as the division’s No. 3 ranked contender, two spots ahead of ‘Chito’ and two spots behind Dvalishvili. 

Umar Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, is a perfect 17-0 in his mixed martial arts career with his last five wins coming under the UFC banner. Moving into the bantamweight top 10 with his most recent victory, Nurmagomedov has yet to be truly tested by someone with the experience and skill that Sandhagen possesses. 

Watch the full interview below:

Published on March 7, 2024 at 11:43 am
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