Cory Sandhagen sees Rob Font’s match as a No. 1 contender’s match, at the very least for himself

It sounds easy and apparent on paper: If Corey Sandhagen defeats Rob Font on Saturday in the primary occasion of UFC Nashville at Bridgestone Area in Nashville, Tennessee, he’ll be the one man left to combat the winner of the title combat on April 19 in Boston, Massachusetts, between champ Aljamain Sterling. and the second competitor, Sean O’Malley.

Now, it is not as easy or simple in actual life as it’s on paper, and the UFC has made no guarantees about who goes subsequent. UFC President Dana White hates holding post-fight press convention matches, not to mention speaking about theoretical matches with two fights remaining.

However Sandhagen, the fourth-ranked bantamweight, sees issues in a logical approach: No. 1 Merab Dvishvili isn’t solely Sterling’s good friend and will not combat him like Sterling to beat O’Malley, however he is additionally injured. O’Malley fights Sterling for the title in Boston and third seed Henry Cejudo is injured.

Sandhagen has a historical past with Sterling — Sterling launched him at UFC 250 in 2020 proper after the UFC returned from pandemic lockdown — and could be the highest-ranked competitor if he defeated Font.

Font accepted the match in the primary occasion in opposition to Sandhagen when Umar Nurmagomedov pulled out. Because of the distinction in model between Nurmagomedov, a wrestler and Font, a kickboxer, it was a danger to have the match in any respect.

In boxing, the bout would most definitely have been delayed, however Sandhagen welcomed the problem to remain on the cardboard by taking over Wundt.

“Funt’s model is acquainted to me and though he is not the man I used to be making ready for and I used to be actually excited to combat Omar as a result of I actually really feel he has a novel model and I feel I found out the best way to break that model in coaching in camp, I can (settle for a change) as a result of Funt’s model I’ve seen.” a number of occasions earlier than.” “You realize, I felt like I did a great job in camp determining the best way to break[Nurmagomedov’s]model code, however you’ve got to have the ability to adapt when wanted.

“The road model is urgent and really kickboxing and boxing oriented. I understand how to deal with that model so it wasn’t an issue.”

Nor was Font’s request to take the combat at 140 kilos, 5 over the bantamweight restrict. Sandhagen admitted, nonetheless, that he would have had much more thought to do had he been initially scheduled to combat Wundt and steered Nurmagomedov as a substitute.

Nurmagomedov’s model isn’t widespread and it takes time to decipher it. However he mentioned it goes the opposite approach, too.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25: Corey Sandhagen is interviewed after winning his bantamweight fight against Marlon Vera of Ecuador during a UFC Fight Night event at the AT&T Center on March 25, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC’s No. 4 bantamweight Cory Sandhagen believes a win over Rob Font on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee, ought to put him within the subsequent title at 135. (Josh Hedges/Getty Pictures)

“When one thing occurs like an opponent will get knocked down they usually give you a brand new combat, you weigh all these issues,” Sandhagen mentioned. “An enormous a part of successful fights at this stage is an efficient sport plan and technique. Switching to an opponent I do know is a strategic and tactical determination. Towards Rob Font, as a result of I and the coaches have seen it many occasions, and we’re actually accustomed to his expertise, it is a good transfer to combat him in a short while. .

“By the identical token, I understand how unorthodox my model is to lots of people, and for those who’re not used to preventing somebody with a mode like I’m, it’s totally exhausting to identify whereas within the cage and even on two and a half weeks’ discover. So, when assessing these Stuff, figuring out I am comfy preventing this model and figuring out Rob cannot determine this model out in two and a half weeks, as a result of he would have wanted for much longer than that to actually be examined in battle,…it made sense for me to maneuver on (in Preventing) “.

Sandhagen replies to O’Malley

Taking Nurmagomedov’s model earned him a little bit of criticism from O’Malley, who questioned it on his podcast Why Sandhagen, the fourth-place finisher, would have accepted the match Towards No. 11 Nurmagomedov.

“It is like, ‘Who runs Corey’s profession?'” O’Malley mentioned on the podcast. “What are we doing right here? Why Omar? Is he not ranked? possibly. Why do not you look forward to Merab? Merab has a a lot larger identify. Merab is ranked No. 1. You get that combat. You may combat Merab. Each are very robust fights.

“However, I imply, some folks aren’t within the intelligence enterprise. They’re in — they’re simply being informed they usually’re like, ‘Yeah, Grasp.'” You need to respect him a bit, he simply goes on the market like ‘fuck him’. However, yeah, when you have an opportunity to combat Merab, and you’ll undoubtedly take that combat, you guys over there, why combat Omar? It is unhealthy administration, I feel.” .

Sandhagen mentioned he and O’Malley view the world and the preventing sport very otherwise and so he disagreed with O’Malley’s view.

He mentioned cash isn’t what motivates him to attempt to get to the highest.

“I feel O’Malley and I’ve very totally different views on life,” Sandhagen mentioned. “I feel he is actually thinking about being an icon, or a well-known individual. What I am thinking about is being probably the most deadly weapon of a martial arts individual you will be in your life. …

“I do not actually agree with the best way he appears to be like at sports activities. I do not agree with him, and I feel that is certainly one of his quotes, to combat the best fights for probably the most cash. That is very backwards in the best way I take a look at sports activities. Watching sports activities that approach goes to break sports activities.” And turning the game into one thing like boxing, the place you’ve got actually high-maintenance folks making high-maintenance choices. That is not enjoyable and it is not cool and that (angle) is why boxing would not work in addition to it ought to. However O’Malley and I are simply totally different folks and we see the identical issues otherwise . That is life. “

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