UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley advised Cory Sandhagen to focus on winning marquee fights rather than seeking “famous guy leverage” for better opportunities in his career.
So, Cory Sandhagen’s on the hunt for some “famous guy leverage,” huh? That’s what he’s saying, anyway. He reckons it might help him get a leg up in his career.
He’s been joking about getting face tattoos, or maybe buddying up with some big-name rappers. All in the name of getting a little extra love from the UFC.
This all came up after he was talking about his past fight with Umar Nurmagomedov. Umar’s got a 4-0 record in the UFC, but he’s not exactly a household name yet.
“Umar’s got that famous guy leverage,” Sandhagen said. “Good for him. I’m thinking I might try to grab a bit of that for myself this year. Then there’ll be no doubt about it: I’m next in line for the belt.”
Well, that got Sean O’Malley’s attention. He’s the current UFC bantamweight champ, and he’s getting ready for a rematch with Chito Vera at UFC 299 in March.
O’Malley’s got a point. He’s already defeated both Sterling and Yan, who’ve both beaten Sandhagen in the past.
He earned his title shot by beating Yan, and then he knocked out Sterling to take the belt last August. Meanwhile, Sandhagen lost to Sterling in the first round and then lost a five-round decision to Yan for the interim bantamweight title.
Chael Sonnen, a multi-time UFC title challenger, also had a few things to say about Sandhagen’s comments. He responded with a series of rhyming tweets, taking a few jabs at Sandhagen’s strategy.
“It ain’t rocket science or nuclear fission. You got no friends or allies in the entire division,” Sonnen tweeted. “One day YOU’RE gonna realize, on this you can bet. You don’t get what you deserve, Son. You GET what you GET.”
Sonnen had a bit of fun with Sandhagen, but O’Malley’s message was pretty clear. Despite all the flak he’s gotten for supposedly being handed easy fights throughout his UFC career, he’s won the ones that really count.
As for Sandhagen, he’s on a three-fight winning streak right now. He’s hoping he’ll be next in line for a shot at the title after O’Malley’s rematch with Vera at UFC 299.