Young buck, Cory Sandhagen, may have been the betting favorite going into his fight against aged legend Frankie Edgar, but no one could have imagined he’d destroy “The Answer” in less than 30 seconds with a massive flying knee. But, that’s exactly what the Bantamweight contender did, baiting Edgar into dropping levels and then hitting him with a knee to the chin that dropped Frankie out cold and stiff to the canvas (watch highlights here).
Following the fight, Sandhagen was subdued, but obviously pleased with the results.
“I’m glad it was him and not me,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “This is a game, it doesn’t feel good to watch someone crawl up and be all dazed especially when it’s Frankie Edgar, who everyone loves including myself. But ... better him than me.”
As for the big knee, it was something his team worked out ahead of time. Once he was in the cage it just came together.
“That was part of the gameplan, and by part of the gameplan I mean we thought he’d try to wrestle me,” he said. “I think he just got really comfortable in the range I was letting him be in and I kind of wanted to see what he would do, how fast he was, how he was going to move and stuff. He threw a couple of hooks and I thought oh, he’s not fast enough to be a huge threat standing. And then I figured he’d probably be lowering his level and stepping in again. I just threw it.
“If I go out there ready to hurt this person and keep myself safe, which are the two things I think about, I do good,” he continued. “And that’s that.”
As good as Sandhagen looked on Saturday night, the 28-year-old still thinks he’s got tons of room for improvement.
“I don’t think I still even know that much about this sport to be honest with you,” he said when asked if he felt he was fighting at 100 percent these days. “The better I get the more I realize how not great I am in certain spots, which is a good thing. I know that comparatively I’m much better than a lot of people. But I have a learner’s brain, I don’t think I’m anywhere near one hundred percent. There’s so much to learn in this sport, I don’t think it’ll ever end. I’ll always feel like a beginner. Especially the better I get, the more I’ll feel like a beginner.”
“I’m super pumped that I got to add Frankie to my resume. I’m really excited that I got to add him to the resume in that way. When you step into the cage and you come away with the win, I’m just really grateful. Because I know how it feels to go home a loser. And being a loser sucks in this sport, and I wasn’t going to have that happen and it’s a huge motivator for me now, walking into the cage. I really hate losing and really love winning.”
As for what’s next?
“It’s got to be the winner of Yan vs. Sterling,” Sandhagen said. “I heard Yan do an interview where he said he wants to fight TJ after. TJ is coming off some of the most serious PEDs you can do in this sport. That seems disrespectful to the sport, and I’ve been working. I’ve been working these last two years, I’m ready for the belt. I think I’m better than Yan. If he wins I want Yan.
“Same with Sterling,” he concluded. “I’m a different animal, you guys have seen, since that last fight with Sterling. I’m thankful he got to teach me a lesson but next time we fight I’m going to hurt Aljamain. And I want to fight the winner of that fight in July or whenever they want, really. But, nah man, I gotta be next for the title. There’s nobody else in the conversation, especially after a win like that.”