March?! Bummed Cory Sandhagen reacts to Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera 2: ‘Fight earlier’
Cory Sandhagen was left hanging along with the rest of the top Bantamweight contenders after the announcement of the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title fight today (Mon., Nov. 6, 2023).
UFC CEO, Dana White, announced a trio of title fights to kick off 2024, concluding with UFC 299 in March on a specific date to be determined. Atop that event will be the next Bantamweight title tilt, pitting new champion, Sean O’Malley, against his old rival, Marlon “Chito” Vera, in a rematch of their August 2020 encounter. The fight resulted in O’Malley’s lone defeat in his 19-fight career, suffering a first round technical knockout loss.
Vera (21-8-1) is currently the No. 6-ranked contender in the promotion’s official UFC rankings, which shows he’s leapfrogged some other notable names like Sandhagen. Vera’s last fight saw him get back in the win column by defeating Pedro Munhoz via a unanimous decision. Right before that fight, Vera found himself on the wrong end of a lopsided five round unanimous decision in favor of Sandhagen.
“Why March? Fight earlier so that I can fight earlier,” Sandhagen told Luke Thomas.
“I don’t think it’s the most favorable match up for O’Malley, but I still think that O’Malley will likely win. March? I was hoping that they’d fight in January and then I would be able to come back in like April or May or something.”
Sandhagen rides a three-fight winning streak, following up his Vera win with a unanimous decision of Rob Font in August 2023. Unfortunately for Sandhagen, he suffered a torn tricep in the process, which has kept him from getting back in the mix in a timely fashion. Now, he’ll have to decide if he’ll wait for the title fight to happen before fighting or not.
“I’ll see what they say, I guess,” Sandhagen said. “Yeah, I don’t know. That’s a bummer. March? Damn.”