Cory Sandhagen: ‘I’ll see myself as champ’ with UFC 267 interim title win

Cory Sandhagen thinks he’ll have legitimate championship bravado if he beats Petr Yan for the interim belt at UFC 267.

It seems that every UFC interim title fight puts the spotlight on the fighters, asking them if they feel like the “true champion” with a win. Sandhagen will feel like that in Sandhagen’s situation, due to the state of the bantamweight Division.

Champion Aljamain Sterling was originally booked to rematch Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) in the co-headliner of Saturday’s card, but he was forced out by a neck injury. Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) stepped in as a replacement, but not after T.J. Dillashaw and Rob Font had to decline the opportunity.

Given the landscape of the weight class and how many people invalidate Sterling’s reign because he won the title by disqualification, Sandhagen thinks there’s a case here to view himself as the real top dog should he emerge victorious.

“I think Aljamain had to retreat, and T.J.’s village is still on fire from when I set it on it on fire,” Sandhagen told reporters at UFC 267 media day. “So, if we’re talking about ancient war type stuff which is how I view this game, then I can take over the land. The other guys can’t do that right now. I can take the land so I will see myself as champion. I’m sure Yan is the champ. I know that I have a lot of work ahead. Although I still have to make up the losses against Aljamain, T.J. and T.J., I will go home smiling as the champ .”


The matchup between Yan and Sandhagen screams “Fight of the Night”, on paper. Both men have devastating striking arsenals. Sandhagen stated that it is not certain that he will throw down for five rounds. He sees a huge advantage for himself on the ground and, if he can get Yan in a compromising situation, he will capitalize.

” If there’s one area that will be a major advantage for me during this fight, it’s definitely going be a grappling zone,” Sandhagen stated. It might be easier not to have to worry about it as often. It’s not easy .”

. I get my groin kicked nearly every day at camp.

This situation is perfect for Sandhagen. If he can beat Yan, he would get a title unification fight with Sterling, who submitted him in 88 seconds when they fought at UFC 250 in June 2020. If he wins then, then a rematch with Dillashaw, who edged him by split decision at UFC on ESPN 27 in July, would be on deck.

” “It would be wonderful for it to work out that way,” Sandhagen stated. “It’s just so frustrating to have those two Ls on .”

UFC 267 takes place at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. ESPN+ streams the entire card.



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