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Midnight Mania! Cory Sandhagen believes UFC 267 win makes him the real champion

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UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen v Edgar Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

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If Cory Sandhagen defeats Petr Yan this weekend at UFC 267 he will call himself champion. Despite the bout being for the interim UFC bantamweight title “Sandman” believes a victory over Yan, the former 135-pound champion, is good enough to crown himself king. Even when current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is holding onto his belt in recovery.

“I think Aljamain [Sterling] had to retreat and T.J. [Dillashaw]’s village is still on fire from when I set it on fire,” Sandhagen told reporters at UFC 267’s media day (via MMA Fighting). “So if we’re talking like ancient war type stuff, which is how I like to view this game — it’s just funner for me to do it that way — I’m the guy that can take the land.”

“Those other two guys can’t right now. I’m the guy that can take the land. So I’ll see myself as champ. I know that most of the public sees Yan as the champ anyway. I know that I definitely will have some making up to do — like I definitely still need to make up my two losses against Aljamain and against T.J. also — but I’ll go home with a smile on my face, calling myself the champ if I win.”

Sandhagen, who is coming off a split-decision loss to former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw back in July, is the betting underdog in his matchup against Yan. The former Russian champion had the belt before he lost it after landing an illegal knee on Sterling at UFC 259. Yan will be out for blood so it’s imperative that “Sandman” is on his A game, especially if he wants to take home UFC gold.

If Sandhagen is able to knock off Yan this weekend in Abu Dhabi he would be open to matchups with both Sterling and Dillashaw. After all, “Funkmaster” choked out Sandhagen back in 2020 and Dillashaw just eked out that decision win. Both fights make sense if Sandhagen can take care of business at UFC 267.

“It would be beautiful for it to work out that way,” Sandhagen said. “I think that it just sucks having those two Ls on my record — one, because the Sterling fight was just sh—ty and embarrassing for me, so I would definitely like to show that I’m definitely better than that guy and I had a night that just wasn’t good. And then same with T.J. where it’s like, I lost a decision that was this close, and if I’m being honest, probably could’ve gone either way. I definitely walked out of that cage a lot less beat up than T.J. did, so it makes me feel a little weird about that.

“But no, man, I think it’d be beautiful if I get to avenge those two losses just right away after being the champ, and I think that will even speak more to how good I am in this sport also.”

Insomnia

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