Cory Sandhagen knows he needs to take responsibility for his controversial loss to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC Vegas 32, but ‘The Sandman’ still thinks he should have been awarded the victory.
Sandhagen knows there are things he could have done differently to tip the scorecards in his favor but the top-three bantamweight is of the opinion that, in most people’s eyes, he won the fight but not the contest.
“I think I need to take responsibility,” Sandhagen told MMA Fighting following split decision loss to Dillashaw. “I need to let myself feel that it’s my fault that I lost because there are things that I could have done differently and they’re just really tiny, tiny little things, which is why I’m not beating myself up too much about this one. Because I think on most people’s scorecards, I win. Just because of the two judges in there that thought that I lost, I’m not going to feel like I got beat in a fight because I don’t feel like I got beat in a fight.
“But I do think it’s really important for me to acknowledge that if I would have done a couple things different, although they’re very minor, that’s kind of the realm of competition that I’m in where I don’t get to make a lot of really minor mistakes anymore. “f I don’t take responsibility, who’s supposed to? I definitely want to b*tch about it. I have b*tched about it and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with b*tching about something like this, in this instance and I think it was my fault that I didn’t win still at the end of the day.”
Sandhagen might have dispensed more damage and came closer to finishing the fight, but it was Dillashaw who controlled the pace and capitalized on the former’s mistakes.
It was Dillashaw’s fight IQ that ultimately won him the fight but, with a few minor adjustments, Sandhagen feels he would beat the former two-time bantamweight champ in a rematch.
“I really hope that I do [fight Dillashaw again],” Sandhagen said. “I don’t like the taste in my mouth of feeling again, like I said, if I would have just fixed a couple things then I definitely get the nod from the judges because I think I already won the actual fight part of the thing. I think that next time T.J. and I face each other, he’s not going to have anything to lean back on. Going into this one, I know in his head, he was really reliant on taking me down and winning that way and he wasn’t able to do that. I think I showed that I have really good wrestling and I have really good takedown defense and you’re not going to be able to do that at will when you’re fighting me. Because that’s one of the area’s that T.J.’s really good at is being able to take people down and I shut down 17 of his shots.
“I think going into another fight with T.J. he’s going to know that I understand the mistakes that I made and when we fight again, the mistakes won’t be there anymore and he’ll probably get finished.”
At just 29-years-old Sandhagen still has ample time to sharpen his skillset and, ultimately, mature as a fighter. He is currently #2 in the UFC bantamweight rankings and likely just a couple more wins away from a title shot.