Cory Sandhagen is preparing to be the backup fighter for the upcoming bantamweight title fight in December. Sandhagen (13-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) reinserted himself into title contention when he finished Marlon Moraes in the second round at UFC on ESPN+ 37, rebounding from his first-round submission loss to Aljamain Sterling in June.
Sandhagen is coming off an impressive second-round TKO win over Marlon Moraes earlier this month to all but cement himself as the next in line to challenge for the title.
Sandhagen prepared to be a backup fighter
In his first title defense, 135-pound champion Petr Yan is scheduled to face Sterling at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, and as long as he’s not booked, Sandhagen is happy to jump in if needed. And provided he is not booked against an opponent until then, Cory plans on being the alternate fighter just in case either competitor is unable to compete on the night.
“Yeah, definitely that’s my plan,” Sandhagen told MMA Junkie Radio. “Moraes landed one really good low kick on me, so I’m trying to do my best to keep it moving so that it doesn’t get weak, and I don’t let my body get too weak. But I mean, that’s the plan.”
“Right when I can get back to not the hardest training in the world, but if I could be 80 percent for the next month-and-a-half and kinda feel out whether or not these guys are gonna fight, especially today with the coronavirus and all that jazz. Weird stuff is gonna happen all the time, so I mean, I’m definitely gonna stay at about 80 percent.”
Of course, Sandhagen could find himself booked in a fight in the meantime as Frankie Edgar has reportedly asked for a fight with him. Perhaps that fight could take place on the UFC 256 card as well ? Sandhagen has not been approached by the UFC to be the alternate as of yet. However, he will keep himself prepared in case the opportunity presents itself.
“I understand that I’m the No. 1 guy that would jump into that spot, so I’m not gonna be stupid and just blow that away because I don’t wanna train,” Sandhagen added. “I’m gonna definitely keep myself prepared. I have no issue, or my ego has no issue, with being an alternate for that fight.”
What do you think of Sandhagen being the backup?
Purchase the UFC merch here.