‘It Was Like A Psychedelic Experience,’ Cory Sandhagen Relives Fighting Chito Vera At UFC San Antonio

Sandhagen details his out-of-body experience in the Octagon.

Sandhagen Psych
(via @corysandhagenmma - Instagram)

Cory Sandhagen had quite the experience during his last fight.

Last month, Sandhagen defeated fellow contender Chito Vera in the main event of UFC San Antonio. ‘The Sandman’ put on a great performance, largely shutting out Vera over the course of five rounds. 

Sandhagen Revisits The Vera Fight

Coming off of what is likely the biggest win of his career, Sandhagen says his fight against Vera was unlike anything he’s ever seen before in his 20 professional fights.

“I’m getting pretty good,” Sandhagen said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “I’ve really been just plugging up some holes, like figuring some stuff out. I’m at the part in the martial arts journey where I’ve gotten really good at being a really good learner. I can learn super fast and super efficiently now. It’s like big time paying off.

“Not only that, but the space I was in before that Chito fight was unlike one that I feel like I’ve ever been in my life.”

‘A Psychedelic Experience’

For Sandhagen, his last time out in the Octagon felt like an out-of-body experience. 

Sports psych books— they’ll sometimes talk about how you’re almost having this out-of-body experience where you’re almost like floating above the court or the field or whatever. It was almost like that,” Sandhagen explained. “Except I wouldn’t use the word like floating above, but I got to a space in that fight where I felt like all of the thoughts and all of the distracting things that sometimes happen in a fight were completely ignored.

“This like, higher-being better version, like best no-thinker, just actor was running the show. It’s almost like I was watching the thing happen while I was in the fight and there would be bits of me hopping in and being like, ‘Hey, throw this combination. Hey, take a little bit more of a risk. Hey, do this’. And then that would get completely just watched. And this, whoever was fighting that night that didn’t even feel like me was the person that was fighting. It was f*cking cool, man. It was cool, dude. It was like a psychedelic experience.”


‘What’s Gotta Change?’

The #3 bantamweight contender explained what had helped get him to that certain state in his fight against Chito Vera. It turns out it wasn’t so easy getting to that point as Sandhagen struggled to find motivation to keep on fighting. 

“I just tried to be as mindful and as present as I possibly could. I know that those are like kind of corny words now, but there is some real substance to them when they’re like really done well. I would say maybe about six weeks before the fight, I had this moment where I was sitting on the couch because I put a lot of pressure on myself and [realized] I wanna be a world champ real bad.

“I was to the point where I wasn’t enjoying any part of the camp, any part of the experience of fighting or anything. I was sitting on the couch and I think I was crying a little bit and I was like, ‘I can’t fucking do this for the next five years of my life. I can’t do this for the rest of my career’. And I was like, ‘well, what’s gotta change?’ And I was like, I gotta take this pressure off of me and I gotta start enjoying every day a lot more than I am right now.”

‘A Completely Free Way Of Being’

Sandhagen continued talking about his miraculous mental change.

“From that, like six weeks before the fight, I started doing that and I really think that carried into the fight and it made me be a lot less tense, a lot less tight, and it made me be able to fight with just like a completely free way of being.”

Published on April 7, 2023 at 2:40 pm
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