Cory Sandhagen dropped jaws on Saturday night when he starched Frankie Edgar with a flying knee 28 seconds into their co-main even fight at UFC Vegas 18. That stoppage was the second stunning KO in a row for the 28-year-old who knocked out Marlon Moraes with a wheel kick four months ago.
After his big win, over a former UFC lightweight champion, Sandhagen told the assembled media that he had no doubts over his worthiness to fight for the UFC’s bantamweight title.
The 135 lb belt will be contested at UFC 259 on March 6 between recently crowned champ Petr Yan and number one contender Aljimain Sterling. At the UFC Vegas 18 post-fight press conference Sandhagen spoke about chatter regarding former champion T.J. Dillashaw, who is due to be cleared to compete after a lengthy USADA ban for EPO.
“I know [Petr] Yan has been talking about fighting T.J. [Dillashaw] after [he fights Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259], and that’s if he even wins that fight,” said Sandhagen (ht MMA Fighting). “That’s garbage to me.”
“Fight me, I’m the toughest guy next to Aljamain. If Aljamain wins, I owe him a nap. He’s gonna get that nap. The winner of those two gets knocked out by me in July.”
Sterling gave Sandhagen his only loss in the UFC last June. In that bout ‘Funkmaster’ but the ‘Sandman’ to sleep with a rear naked choke. Sandhagen said, since that loss, he’s a “different monster” and he’s eager to show that.
“It’s kill or be killed,” he said. “I heard an interview where Frankie [Edgar] was saying he really enjoys fighting and that’s what’s keeping him motivated. That’s not where I am. I’m in a different place.
“I’m coming for legacy, I’m coming for world titles. I’m coming to be the king. That’s why I’m here and I’m trying to hurt the people bad when I’m in there with them.”
Before having his momentum stunted by Sterling, Sandhagen was on a five fight win streak to start his UFC career. That run included wins over John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao. He made his promotional debut with a body shot stoppage of Austin Arnett at UFC on FOX 27 in 2018.