Surging UFC Bantamweight, Cory Sandhagen had some very interesting words to say about the current radar of the division and who is worthy of a title shot in the crowded (and talented) weight class at 135lbs.
Sandhagen is coming off impressive back-to-back wins over top contenders, John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao. After these performances, however, Sandhagen seems skeptical on his bantamweight rivals and even himself getting a title shot against a supposedly retired Henry Cejudo or a shot at the vacant title, if it’s left behind.
“It’s always going to be the best, most deserving guy. I’m not going to complain too much about the choice of Aldo and Cruz because right now, if I’m being honest, out of all of the contenders there is not one shining really brightly either.”
“The Sandman” makes and breaks title-picture arguments for the top 4 of the division, including himself placed currently sitting at #4. (#1 Moraes, #2 Sterling, #3 Yan)
“I would argue (Marlon) Moraes, (Petr) Yan, Aljamain (Sterling) and myself are all contenders. With Moraes, you have a lot of shine taken off of that because he’s already lost to Cejudo. Then you have me, Yan and Aljamain.”
“Me, Yan and Aljamain, there’s not really one of us sticking out a ton… Yan’s coming off a win over (Urijah) Faber. Should that get you get a title shot? Definitely not.” Sandhagen chuckles at the meer possibility.
With the “shine taken off” Moraes and the Faber fight not being enough to secure Yan a title fight, Sandhagen analyzes “Funk Master” next.
“Aljamain’s coming off a win over Pedro Munhoz, and he’s on a fairly decent winning streak. Does beating Pedro Munhoz get you a title shot? I don’t know.”
Skeptical about Sterling’s possible crack at gold, the rising bantamweight star evaluates himself.
“I’m coming off a win against Lineker and Assuncao, should that get me a title shot? …I’m very new, I don’t know.”
“None of us were shining bright enough to even have a big enough argument to trump the idea of Cruz and Aldo getting that (the title shot) before us.”
“That’s just the nature of where it’s at. It even sucks a little bit more because with Aldo out of his next fight, Aldo of course is going to be after Cruz, so it’s just creating more of a line for all of us. “
The Colorado native, although frustrated with the situation of Cruz and Aldo getting an opportunity to fight for the belt, stays optimistic.
“I don’t trip about it dude. The mat never lies and there’s a lot of things that I can’t control but, what I can control is when the cage locks, I can control that I can become better than you. In time, whether the UFC, whether Henry Cejudo, whether whoever likes it or not, that’s gonna be me on the winning side of all of those.”
“My plan for all of this is… just stay in your lane and keep winning and good things will happen for that reason.”