At this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night event in Nashville, former interim bantamweight title challenger Cory Sandhagen continued his fine form with a dominant display.
On the back of main event wins over Song Yadong last September and Marlon Vera this past March, “The Sandhagen” entered the headline spotlight again on August 5, tasked with defending his place in the top five opposite Rob Font.
While both men have become renowned for their striking skills, the majority of the five-round contest at the Bridgestone Arena took place on the ground, with Sandhagen amassing over 20 minutes of control time.
That left many fans in attendance and watching from home less than satisfied given the kind of firefight that some had expected from the entertaining bantamweight contenders.
And despite a serious tricep injury in round one hampering his efforts, “The Sandman” has still received heavy flak for his display. That’s included from Henry Cejudo, who has since insisted that the performance has ruled Sandman out of title contention for the time being.
According to one former fighter-turned-analyst, however, that is far from the truth.
Sonnen Gives Show Of Support For Sandhagen’s Title Claims
During a video recently uploaded to his YouTube channel, ex-UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen gave his take on Sandhagen’s victory in Tennessee and the varying reactions to it.
After suggesting that the negative view of this past Saturday’s headliner is down to fans jumping on a “bandwagon,” Sonnen insisted that Sandhagen’s pre-fight conduct and willingness to accept changing conditions, in addition to his display on fight night, leaves him as the clear number one contender.
“Before you can really recognize what Sandhagen did, doing anything to Rob Font is hard to do. Doing it to him twice, I can’t remember a time that happened. To do the same thing to Rob Font each round for five rounds has never, by anybody, worked,” Sonnen said. “Sandhagen not only made it work, he made it work with a skillset he did not have three years ago.
“There’s been a number of people who did not enjoy that match. I won’t tell you what to like… But I will share with you, if you tell me you didn’t think it was a fun fight, didn’t think it was interesting… (weren’t) surprised as well as impressed (by Sandhagen)… I don’t know that I fully believe you,” Sonnen continued. “You cannot potentially put your belt on a guy that you can’t count on. Cory gets tested three times (Nurmagomedov matchup; new opponent; new weight) and he passes the test each time… Goes out and does what he’s supposed to do, which is fight hard the entire time… He’s still the number one contender.”
Sandhagen will certainly hope that the UFC sees things the same way as Sonnen, with the Colorado native calling his shot for an opportunity at the bantamweight gold post-fight.
Before a potential title chance, however, “The Sandman” requires a lengthy recovery time after suffering a torn tricep. Following surgery later this week, he’s expected to be out for at least six months.
Sights set on the title 🏆@CorySandhagen wants the #UFC292 winner after his performance at #UFCNashville! pic.twitter.com/tDvmAiNrCg
— UFC (@ufc) August 6, 2023
Read Also: 6 Positives & 2 Negatives From UFC Fight Night: Cory Sandhagen vs. Rob Font
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