Exclusive: Cory Sandhagen Says He’s ‘More Deserving’ Of UFC Title Shot Than Sean O’Malley

Sandhagen talks about the bantamweight title picture and also Chito Vera's controversial comments.

Cory S
(via @corysandhagenmma - Instagram)

Cory Sandhagen reckons he has a better case for a title shot than Sean O’Malley.

‘I’m more deserving than he is of the title shot’

The #5 UFC bantamweight contender is coming off a doctor stoppage of Yadong Song and is now slated to meet fellow contender Chito Vera on Feb. 18th. Sandhagen believes a win over Vera will get him back to title contention and even name-dropped Sean O’Malley, who claims he is next in line for the belt after (or if) Aljamain Sterling squares off with Henry Cejudo. 

“I definitely think so,” Sandhagen told Middle Easy, when asked if this fight will get him to a title shot. “Last time I checked, O’Malley doesn’t have a contract yet. I think I go out and I do really well against Chito. I could see me and Sean fighting right afterwards, depending on what happens between Sterling and Cejudo. But, that’s the fight that I’ll be asking for. Sean fought a bunch of— not the highest quality of opponents and then barely beat a guy [Petr Yan] in a three round fight.

“I don’t think really that should get you a title shot, in my opinion. I’ve been in the top five for the last three years. I’ve gotten one title shot and it was a short notice one. I think that I’m more deserving than he is of the title shot. I know that he has a bunch of hype. I know that I wasn’t super active this last year, but I’m gonna have a really active year this year and I think I’ll just get people believing in me again because I did take some time off last year, I’m gonna have a busy year this year and, uh, and I’m gonna do it this year.”

Sandhagen Speaks On Sterling vs. Cejudo

Speaking of the UFC Bantamweight division, it is still unclear on whether or not current champ Aljamain Sterling will defend his championship against the returning Henry Cejudo. While this looks to be the next title fight at 135, it has yet to be made official. Regardless of whatever’s holding it up, Sandhagen has hope that the fight will happen. 

“Last I heard, I think it’s gonna happen,” Sandhagen said of Sterling vs. Cejudo. “But yes, I think it’ll happen.”

Size Matters

‘Sandman’ would also give his prediction for the potential fight.

“Because Sterling is so much bigger or going to be so much bigger than Cejudo, I think that Sterling will likely take it,” Sandhagen continued. “I think that the wrestling is gonna cancel each other out. I think that it’s gonna be a kickboxing fight, more or less.

“Sterling will definitely try to take his back, but I don’t really see Cejudo giving his back to him. Then I think that it’s just gonna be a kickboxing fight where Sterling’s gonna be a lot bigger and a lot funkier. That’s gonna be hard for Cejudo to deal with and Cejudo is gonna be a lot smaller than Sterling too, which I think will matter.”

Sandhagen Reacts To Chito’s ‘Cheating’ Comments

Sandhagen’s next opponent Chito Vera isn’t one to hold back his opinions. In his latest rant, Vera would call Aljamain Sterling’s weight cut to 135 ‘cheating’. Along with Aljo, Sandhagen caught wind of Vera’s words. 

“Yeah, I think that Chito’s just a provocative guy. He likes provoking people. He likes just saying things like that. I don’t even know that he believes some of this stuff that he’s saying. I think he’s just a provocative personality and that’s the way that he is.

“I don’t really think it’s cheating,” Sandhagen added. “If you can cut the weight, then sure, cut the weight. Everyone does it. I don’t really care too much if someone has 5 or 10 pounds [weight] difference on me. I mean, if it was like a 20 pound difference, then like, yeah, that’s cheating. But I don’t really see how someone could do that, without seriously damaging themselves. So 5-10 pounds makes no difference to me.”

Published on January 3, 2023 at 4:53 pm
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