Cory Sandhagen out to 'capitalise' on TJ Dillashaw's 'mistakes'

  • Tom Ward
Cory Sandhagen

Cory Sandhagen is expecting to profit from TJ Dillashaw‘s ‘mistakes’ when the two UFC fighters collide in a clash between two of the bantamweight division’s top contenders on Saturday night.  

Sandhagen, 29, has won back-to-back fights in the UFC after suffering the second loss of his career after falling by submission to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 in June 2020. 

The American MMA fighter also scored one of the all-time great knockouts earlier this year, landing a flying knee to the head of his opponent, Frankie Edgar, just 28 seconds into the three-round bout.

Ultimately, however, ‘The Sandman’ doesn’t really care, as he insists he will win by any means necessary. 

“A win is a win in my eyes,” Sandhagen told reporters at a press conference at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. “I think that when I get knockouts like the last couple that I’ve had, it’s by me not really doing anything other than me just playing my game and them making a mistake.

“That’s kind of how I approach every fight. I’m going to go out there. I’m going to do what I do.

“If you leave me too many openings and you make too many mistakes, then I’m going to be able to capitalise on them.”

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Like his upcoming opponent, Sandhagen is only too well aware of the fact that victory over the two-time bantamweight king could pave the way to a potential world title shot against the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs Petr Yan, which is expected to take place at some point later this year. 

“This is the fight that I wanted,” the 29-year-old said. “I know that building a name is really important in this sport.

“One of the main motivators behind me asking for a fight with T.J. is him and Yan were kind of going back and forth a little bit. I remember Yan saying that if he beats Sterling, he wanted someone with some name value.

“It’s just about taking out anyone else’s argument. That’s kind of what it’s always been about since I lost against Sterling. That’s what I’m going to do until I get my title shot.”

Cory Sandhagen KO's Frankie Edgar

Sandhagen also insists he doesn’t care who wins as he wants to fight the champion either way. 

He added: “Both would be sweet in their own way. I really want to get my loss back against Sterling just because I have an ego inside of me that doesn’t want people thinking that anyone is better than me.

“That’s kind of what we’re all doing out here. We’re proving where we all stack up on the food chain. It would really make me happy to have everyone know that I’m higher on the food chain than both Sterling and Yan.

“Proving that against Sterling would be sweet. Beating Yan, because I know people think very, very highly of Yan, but taking out a competitor like that where people see this guy as the top dog like I said, I have an ego inside me.

“I want to prove that I’m king of the jungle, that I’m the highest one on the food chain. So both of those would be sweet wins.”

Read more: Dustin Poirier blasts Conor McGregor’s ‘weak’ excuses for UFC 264 defeat

UFC on ESPN: Sandhagen vs Dillashaw takes place Saturday night. The early prelims will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass, while the preliminary card and main card will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

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