Cory Sandhagen considers Petr Yan one of the best battle within the UFC bantamweight division.
Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) faces former champion Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) for the interim bantamweight title within the co-main occasion of UFC 267, which takes place Oct. 30 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Sandhagen will exchange UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, who was compelled to withdraw from his rematch in opposition to Yan. But contemplating how Sterling dethroned Yan by disqualification resulting from an unlawful knee in a battle the place he was down on two of the judges’ scorecards, Sandhagen is pleased to contemplate himself the undisputed champion if he can get previous Yan.
“Maybe in this circumstance I think it might,” Sandhagen mentioned Monday on “The MMA Hour.” “I think everyone sees Yan as the champ of the division, the best in the division, so I think in this case it will.”
He continued, “I think it will mean a lot. It never feels real until it actually is real, and now that I’m fighting for a UFC belt, even though it’s an interim one, it would feel like I was the champ. I would definitely know that I have some quieting of the voices maybe about the Sterling loss I’ve had and then the T.J. (Dillashaw) loss that I had, but those will be very exciting rematches in the division. I’m excited, and it would feel like I was the champ if I do win against Yan.”
With Sterling initially wanting extra time to recuperate from neck surgical procedure, Sandhagen had an inkling that he won’t make it to the battle. Although he’s coming off a five-round battle in an in depth break up determination loss to T.J. Dillashaw in late July, Sandhagen thought it might be clever to remain prepared in case his hunch got here true.
“I didn’t want that opportunity to pass if that was going to be the case,” Sandhagen mentioned. “I sat lengthy and exhausting with it as a result of I used to be feeling like I wanted somewhat little bit of a relaxation after the final one. It was type of a troublesome one to take somewhat bit, so I type of needed to relaxation my thoughts somewhat bit after which I acquired to pondering because the battle acquired nearer and nearer.
“About nine, eight weeks away, I was like I’m just gonna train hard for this one because if something does go wrong and they ask me to do it, I don’t want to be caught with my pants down. I don’t really want to be the guy that has to say no because he can’t make weight or miss out on a huge opportunity like that. So I had been planning on getting ready for this for about eight or nine weeks now.”