Cory Sandhagen Confident of Next Title Shot, Sees Strong Case for Belt Fight

Cory Sandhagen, who is recovering from two surgeries, believes he could return to the ring with a bantamweight title shot, and has his sights set on the winner of the UFC 299 main event featuring Sean O’Malley and Chito Vera.

Cory Sandhagen’s itching to get back in the ring. He’s on the mend from two surgeries and is eyeing a bantamweight title shot upon his return.

His last fight was a victory over Rob Font in August. But it wasn’t a smooth ride. Sandhagen tore his triceps during the match, which hampered his performance.

Post-fight, he went under the knife. Twice. First, to fix the triceps tear, then to sort out some elbow issues that contributed to the initial injury.

Now, a few months on, Sandhagen’s hopeful. He’s 31 and reckons he’ll be ready to fight again in about three to four months. And he’s got his sights set on a big prize – the winner of the UFC 299 main event. That’s the one between Sean O’Malley and Chito Vera.

Sandhagen’s not lost hope of fighting for the title next. He said as much on The MMA Hour. Sure, the injury was a bummer, and he hates making excuses. But fighting with a significant injury on a big stage was tough.

He knows the sport. You want momentum going into a title fight. The UFC wants it. He wants it. But the injury messed with that.

But hey, it’s out of his control. If he could go back, he would. But sometimes, you’ve got to take the win, even if you’re fighting with one arm.

Despite the layoff, Sandhagen’s still a big name in the bantamweight division. He’s on a three-fight winning streak. He even beat Vera in a one-sided match in March 2022. He thinks that gives him an edge when it comes to arguing for a title shot sooner.

He sees a strong case for him fighting for the belt. He beat Chito less than a year ago. A fight between him and O’Malley would be one of the most exciting in the UFC.

Two guys in their prime with exciting styles? That’s a killer matchup. And if Chito wins, Sandhagen’s got an easy argument, having beaten him less than a year ago.

As for who he thinks will win, Sandhagen’s leaning towards O’Malley. But he thinks the five-round main event could be a cautious affair, almost like a “soccer match”.

In his view, O’Malley’s the better striker. He’s more athletic and defensively sound. It won’t be a grappling and wrestling match, so those skills are a wash. O’Malley’s just got more of what makes a good striker.

But there’s a hurdle in Sandhagen’s path to a title shot. That’s Merab Dvalishvili, who’s fighting Henry Cejudo at UFC 298 in February.

Dvalishvili’s on a nine-fight winning streak. If he beats Cejudo, that’s ten in a row. Sandhagen admits it’d be hard to jump ahead of Dvalisvhili in that case. So, he might just have to cheer for Cejudo for one night.

Sandhagen acknowledges Dvalishvili’s hard work. His only arguments over Dvalishvili, if Dvalishvili wins, are his recent victory over Chito and the potential for an exciting fight with O’Malley. But he gets it from Dvalishvili’s perspective.


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