Exclusive: Cory Sandhagen Rooting for Alex Volkanovski But Would Bet on Islam Makhachev

'Sandman' heaped praises on 'The Great' but does not see him getting past Makhachev

Cory Sandhagen, Alex Volkanovski, Islam Makhachev
Credit: Middle Easy, Alex Volkanovski, Islam Makhachev (via YouTube & Instagram)

Cory Sandhagen is rooting for Alex Volkanovski to beat Islam Makhachev but doubts if it would happen.

Reigning featherweight champion Volkanovski has been targeting entry into the ultra-exclusive double-champ club inaugurated by former two-division champion Conor McGregor. He was the backup for the last lightweight title fight and will finally get his opportunity against the newly crowned 155-pound king Makhachev in the promotion’s grand return to Australia for UFC 284 on Feb. 12.

Cory Sandhagen will be on the side of Alex Volkanovski over Islam Makhachev

In an exclusive interview with James Lynch for Middle Easy, Cory Sandhagen shared his thoughts on the upcoming champ-champ fight between Alex Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev.

“I’m going to root for Volk not because I dislike Islam but I like Volk. I like the chance that he’s taking. I think that he’s going to surprise a lot of people. I remember when I watched him fight it was either Chad Mendes or Jose Aldo or someone, but when Volk got taken down, the way he stood up looked aesthetically so powerful and so technical that it amazed me. He stood up as if no one was even on top of him and I think Volkanovski is going to do a lot better in the wrestling area than a lot of people think. I don’t think Islam is going to have that much success holding him down as people think. I think that he’ll definitely win some rounds. It’s not going to be an a** whooping but I think Volk is going to do a lot better than people are anticipating.”

Sandhagen thinks Makhachev has a better chance of winning

Sandhagen believes Makhachev has a higher chance of coming out on top over the smaller contender.

“If I was a betting man, I’d probably bet on Islam only because the size really does matter. Islam does cut a lot of weight. I think that he has really good coaches and that he really knows what he’s doing. He has his path to victory and he does a good job. He’s physical and big enough in order to do it. If they were in the same weight class, I would say Volk. But because it’s a weight class difference, I would probably teeter towards Islam.”

Cory Sandhagen will mark his return to action against Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 219 on Feb. 18.

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