Cory Sandhagen believes he is a “couple mistakes away” from beating the top guys and eventually becoming UFC bantamweight champion.
Sandhagen is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Petr Yan in their interim bantamweight title fight at UFC 267 in October after stepping in on short notice.
Although he had his moments in a back-and-forth fight, he was ultimately outclassed by Yan who dropped him en route to a comfortable unanimous decision victory.
It made it two defeats in a row for “The Sandman” who recently reflected on his setbacks.
“Coming off the two losses kind of sucks, but I’m a little bit more of a deeper thinker than just, ‘Yeah, my last two were Ls,’” Sandhagen said on The MMA Hour. “My first L this year [against TJ Dillashaw] was one of the most controversial decisions that the UFC has maybe ever had, and then the second one was a short-notice title fight against one of the best guys in the world.
“So I’m not too beat up about it, man. I really think that I’m just a couple mistakes away from beating these guys, and that just means that I just need to work that much harder. I still know I’m going to be champ.”
Although he makes no excuses for his defeat, Sandhagen would have liked a little more time to prepare for arguably the best bantamweight in the world today.
But despite the short notice, Sandhagen had a promising start as he threw plenty of volume at Yan. However, Yan’s defense ultimately prevailed before he turned it on later in the fight.
“That’s kind of his style, right?” Sandhagen said. “We anticipated that. He doesn’t start the fastest. He started a little bit quicker than I think he normally does, with me. But yeah, in [rounds] two and three, he just picked up the pace a little bit, and that’s kind of how he fights. And in four, he kicked my ass in Round 4.
“But like I said, man, I was kind of on stilts from getting dropped. I have a really good chin, so if you drop me, you must’ve hit me really hard, and that’s not going to be something that isn’t going to play a factor into the rest of the fight. So I made that mistake, man, and I paid for it. So that’s how the sport works.”
— UFC (@ufc) October 30, 2021
Cory Sandhagen Predicts Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2
Yan is now set to face current champion Aljamain Sterling in a rematch next year in what will be a title unification clash.
No date is currently set, but many in the combat sports world believe it will be a victory for Yan, who was disqualified in their first meeting for an illegal knee.
Sandhagen has notably fought both competitors and as far as predicting the fight goes, he believes “No Mercy” will come out on top.
“I think Yan’s got it,” Sandhagen added. “That’s based off of the first fight and that’s just based off of — Yan’s good, man. Yan’s good. Sterling’s good also, but I think Yan just protects himself so well and he’s super dangerous guy to fight, and that’s not an easy match.”