It is no secret that there is a bit of disdain for former bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, ahed of his return from a USADA suspension to face Cory Sandhagen. This is something that Cory is excited to capitalize on, saying that he is looking forward to being the hero in this bout.
The last time Sandhagen stepped into the Octagon, he was facing a beloved fan favorite in Frankie Edgar. Of course, that did not stop him from knocking out the former lightweight champ in less than a minute, with a brutal flying knee.
Now heading into his UFC Vegas 32 main event against Dillashaw, there is a different feeling. Speaking in a recent interview, the number two ranked contender says that people are looking to him to knock out TJ, who is fighting for the first time since being busted for EPO, and he is more than happy to oblige.
“When I was getting ready to fight Frankie I didn’t get a lot of like ‘Hey, I hope you knock the s—t out of him.’ I didn’t get a lot of those, but I’ve been getting a lot of ‘Hey I hope you beat the s—t out of TJ,’ so it’s definitely pretty apparent to me that he’s a disliked guy,” Sandhagen said.
“I think as optics, I think it’s a good fight, too. I consider TJ to be one of the greatest bantamweights to ever fight. Him, (Dominick) Cruz, I don’t really know who else to put in that category at 135. So being able to fight one of those guys is obviously a big deal, and the fact that no one likes him and I get to come in and be the hero will be a cool thing too.”
Cory Sandhagen Is The New Generation
When TJ Dillashaw was handed his suspension, Cory Sandhagen was little more than a bright prospect working his way up the bantamweight division. Now that the former champ is returning, Cory says that the division may have passed him by.
In Cory’s opinion, TJ needs to be just as good, if not better than he was when he last fought. Otherwise, Cory and the rest of the hungry young athletes will run over him.
“It will definitely not be a good night for him if he doesn’t come out being the TJ that he was, or a better version. If you think about two and a half years ago when TJ left the division, how much it’s changed,” Sandhagen said.
“It has been a really long time since TJ’s been in this division. I can only imagine that in those two years while he’s watching what’s happening in the division, he has to be pretty worried about how stacked the thing is, and how many good guys there are in the division. So I imagine he’s probably been training pretty hard for that reason, but if TJ doesn’t come out ready to go, or at any type of disadvantage, it’s going to be not a good night for TJ.”
Cory Sandhagen will face off against TJ Dillashaw this weekend, in the main event of UFC Vegas 32. It will be interesting to see how this fight plays out, and who moves closer to a bantamweight title shot.