Cory Sandhagen wants to avenge his two defeats at bantamweight as he finally gets his shot at world championship glory.
The American was last seen leaving the cage earlier this year when he lost a controversial split decision to TJ Dillashaw.
It was the second defeat of Sandhagen’s UFC career after his shock loss to Aljamain Sterling in 2020.
“I think Aljamain had to retreat, and TJ’s village is still on fire from when I set it on fire,” Sandhagen said at his Wednesday news conference.
“So if we’re talking like ancient war type stuff, which is how I like to view this game, I’m the guy that can take the land.
“Those other two guys can’t right now. I can take the land, so I’ll see myself as champ. I know that most of the public sees Yan as the champ anyways.
“I know I’ll definitely have some making up to do, I definitely still need to make up my two losses against Aljamain and TJ also, but I’ll go home with a smile on my face calling myself the champ if I win.”
Sterling, 32, is currently recovering from surgery as he targets a return to action at the start of next year.
Meanwhile ‘Sandman’ is hoping to get back to winning ways and wants to show the fans he is much better than those performances.
“It just sucks having those two L’s on my record you know,” Sandhagen explained.
“One because the Sterling fight was just like s—– and embarrassing for me, so I’d definitely like to show that I’m better than that guy, and I just had a night that wasn’t good.
“And then the same with TJ where I lost a decision that was this close [motions with his hand] and if I’m being honest it probably could have gone either way.
“I definitely walked out of that cage a lot less beat up than TJ did so it makes you feel a little bit weird about that.”
He then continued: “I think it would be beautiful if I get to avenge those two losses just right away after being the champ and I think that will speak even more to how good I am in this sport also.
“The Aljamain loss was way more s—. The TJ one was a little bit easier of a pill to swallow just because I know that I beat him up and he didn’t beat me up.
“That makes it a little bit easier of a pill to swallow but it still sucks losing and you still ended up losing just as much sleep at night.”