Cory Sandhagen missed out on one of the biggest fights of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career after Frankie Edgar bowed out of their fight -- scheduled to go down on January 25, 2020 — in order to face Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 165 a few weekends ago.
Eventually, “The Answer” was knocked out in the very first round and Cory was removed from UFC Raleigh event altogether. Now, Cory is eyeing another former champion in his comeback fight.
Indeed, Sandhagen says if he had his choice, he’d like to face former Bantamweight king, Dominick Cruz, at the upcoming UFC 248 pay-per-view (PPV) event on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Ideally, me and Cruz fight in first week of March,” Sandhagen told MMA Junkie. “Ideally I fight on that date against Dominick Cruz, if that doesn’t happen then I’m likely going to have to wait until later March or April when this second round of bantamweight fights comes up and I can snag one of those top five guys.”
Winner of seven straight, Cory has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon, taking out all four of his first challenges put in front of him including John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao. And while he’d love nothing more than to add another big name to his resume like “The Dominator,” he isn’t going to be chasing him all over town to get him to fight.
That’s because Sandhagen believes beating anyone else in the top five accomplishes the same goal.
“I’m not going to try to chase a fight with Cruz too much because I think that the division is in a spot right now – all of the fights I feel like are going to do similar things for me so for example, if I fight Moraes, or if I fight Yan or if I fight Cruz, or Sterling or Aldo, or whoever else there is to fight in that top five area, fighting either of those guys isn’t a ticket to a title shot,” he added. “There’s still no clear contender, I just don’t want to be left in the dust.”
Cruz, meanwhile, hasn’t competed since 2016 as a string of injuries have once again forced him to ride the pine, more recently suffering a shoulder injury at the end of 2018, which ultimately canceled his comeback fight against John Lineker.