Cory Sandhagen says a potential No. 1 contender bout against Merab Dvalishvili is ‘perfect’ for his next UFC fight.
Following a split decision win against Marlon Vera at UFC San Antonio this past Saturday, the ’Sandman’ used his post-fight interview to call out Dvalishvili, who was coming off of his own high-profile win at UFC Las Vegas earlier this month.
After defeating former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan, the ‘Machine’ exclaimed he was ‘hungry’ for his next challenger. To quell his hunger, Sandhagen proposed they fight each other in the near future.
“Merab, you’re hungry? Well, I’ve got something for you to eat and it don’t taste good,” Sandhagen said in his post-fight interview.
During the post-fight press conference, Sandhagen added that he viewed Dvalishvili as the next step on his quest for another championship opportunity. With Aljamain Sterling gearing up for his defense against Henry Cejudo and Sean O’Malley waiting for the winner of that fight, Sandhagen believes a bout with Dvalishvili would be a perfect eliminator.
“I think Merab is the best guy in the division right now, outside who is fighting for the title,” said Sandhagen (video provided by MMA Junkie). “I don’t want to shy away from challenges. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to inspire people. I don’t want to cherrypick my fights all the way to the top. I want to fight the best guys, so that when I do get the title, I can defend it because I’m experienced. I think Merab is a perfect challenge for my type of style, for my type of fighting. He’s going to make me train really hard because of how good he is.
“Those are the types of guys that I want to fight,” continued Sandhagen. “And if I can get past him, then I 100 percent deserve a title shot. Like I said, I just don’t want to cherrypick guys. The guy is on a nine-fight winning streak. Who am I to call him out before, or to ask for a title [shot] before him? I’m not going to set that standard in MMA. People should be more real about it.”
As for when he hopes to fight Dvalishvili, that is up in the air for Sandhagen. Not only does he potentially need elbow surgery but he also has a wedding to prepare for near the end of the year.
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About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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