2-ranked UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen turned down an opportunity to fight at yesterday’s UFC Vegas 26 event.
In a recent interview with James Lynch, Sandhagen admitted to turning down a short-notice fight against Pedro Munhoz after his original opponent, T.J. Dillashaw, withdrew from their fight after suffering a deep laceration over his right eye (BJPenn.com).
“Yeah, I think I only found out a day before you guys did,” said Sandhagen. “I found out on Monday. They just told me he was out because he had a cut. That was pretty much all that they told me. Then I was like okay, well I know June has a couple of main events open. Then they told me June doesn’t have a couple of main events open, so now we’re shooting for July. ”
Many fans see Sandhagen as the next contender in line for a shot at the bantamweight title after finishing both Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar, not to mention both finishes worthy of a KO of the year. In a fight against Dillashaw, a two-time former UFC bantamweight champion, the winner would have most certainly received a title shot and would have been Sandhagen’s highest-profile victory to date.
After Dillashaw was forced out of his bout, Sandhagen opted to wait for the former champion to return against him instead of taking a risky late-replacement fight against Munhoz, who is currently ranked # 8 in the bantamweight division.
“Yeah, they offered me Munhoz, but I’m just going to wait for Dillashaw to be honest with you,” Sandhagen said. “I think that’s a fair decision to make and it’s only a couple of months pushback, so no problem.”
“The Sandman” understands the fight against Dillashaw is the one fans are excited to see. Plus, a victory against a former champion would raise his stock massively whilst guaranteeing him a title shot. Hence the # 2-ranked contender rejected the Munhoz fight.
With a record of 14-2, Sandhagen is on a two-fight winning streak against Moraes and Edgar. Prior to the two wins, he lost to current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling in a title shot eliminator bout in June 2020 at UFC 250, his first and only loss in the UFC promotion. Since then, Sandhagen has proven that he is most worthy of a title shot with those two victories under his belt.