Thursday, October 28, 2021

Sandhagen: Everyone Sees Petr Yan As The Bantamweight Champion

Cory Sandhagen is preparing for his interim bantamweight title fight against #1-ranked Petr Yan, whom he feels is the real champion.

Cory Sandhagen might have taken the roundabout way to a UFC title but he is embracing it. He is fighting a champion who lost his title by DQ. He is fighting for an interim title, not the undisputed one, but none of that matters to “The Sandman.” That’s because in Sandhagen’s eyes, this opportunity feels like the real deal.

Sandhagen sat down with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss his upcoming interim title bout. He was asked if he will feel like a real champion if he wins against Yan. This was his answer.

“Maybe in this circumstance, I think it might,” Sandhagen said. “I think everyone sees Yan as the champ of the division, the best in the division. So I think, in this case, it will.”

Sandhagen has good reason to believe this. The way in which Yan lost his belt was an unusual one. An illegal knee from Yan to the head of Aljamain Sterling in their UFC 259 fight ended their fight early and left Sterling holding the belt.

The nature of that bout left many fans doubting the legitimacy of Sterling as champion, so much so that an immediate rematch was planned. Unfortunately, Sterling was not cleared to fight, in turn, resulting in this interim title fight between Yan and Sandhagen.

Sandhagen’s participation in this interim title bout is a bit of right place, right time. He lost his last outing to TJ Dillashaw. It would make sense that Dillashaw step into this fight with Yan, but he is recovering from injury. Now, Sandhagen is in and is looking for his first UFC strap.

Do you think of Petr Yan as the real bantamweight champion?

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