“Not smart”: MMA star questions Cory Sandhagen’s decision to fight Umar Nurmagomedov

Cory Sandhagen has experienced a mix of criticism and praise coming from Sean O’Malley. The highly ranked bantamweight contender, currently holding the #4 spot, showcased an impressive performance in his victory over Chito Vera at UFC San Antonio in March.

Initially, Sandhagen expressed his interest in facing Merab Dvalishvili after the fight. However, he has now agreed to take on the undefeated #11-ranked Umar Nurmagomedov instead.

The anticipated clash between Cory and Nurmagomedov is scheduled as the main event on August 5th.

Sean O’Malley criticizes Sandhagen’s choice of opponent

“Cory’s pretty f*cking badass for doing that though,” O’Malley’s head coach Tim Welch said on their podcast. “Most people will kind of sit around, wait for a bigger fight. Is he badass for doing that or is he not smart for doing that?”

The waiting period eventually paid off for O’Malley, who has now been officially scheduled to face the UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 in August.

Although he acknowledges the decision to fight an opponent ranked considerably lower (especially someone as promising as Nurmagomedov), ‘Suga’ believes it may not have been the wisest career move for Cory.

Cory Sandhagen

One can argue that Sandhagen deserves a more significant fight than Nurmagomedov after putting an end to Vera’s four-fight winning streak.

Cory has faced a formidable lineup of contenders throughout his UFC career, including Song Yadong, Petr Yan, TJ Dillashaw, and the current champion Aljamain Sterling. This pattern for ‘Sandman’ will continue as he clashes with Umar Nurmagomedov later this summer.

Why Cory Sandhagen accepts Nurmagomedov’s bout

Addressing the critics questioning his choice to fight Umar, UFC bantamweight contender Cory responded.

Cory Sandhagen

Sandhagen (16-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) is set to headline a UFC Fight Night event against the undefeated Nurmagomedov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) on August 5th at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

With Cory, a former interim title challenger, coming off consecutive victories in main events against Song Yadong and Marlon Vera, Nurmagomedov represents a step down in the rankings. So, why take the fight?

The answer is simple: Sandhagen explained that he is not one to shy away from a challenge.

“Two reasons: One, Umar is a great fighter, and I’m not trying to be world champ if I’m not the actual best in the entire world. So fighting Umar is a great challenge, and I accept it. And No. 2? Because I’m a beast, b*tch, that’s why. Peace, I’ll see you guys in Nashville. Yippee ki-yay, motherf*cker.”

Cory Sandhagen

Nurmagomedov, who has faced difficulties in securing opponents since entering the UFC, is regarded as a high-risk, low-reward matchup for Sandhagen.

The undefeated 27-year-old recently delivered an impressive first-round knockout against Raoni Barcelos at UFC Fight Night 217 in January. Earning him the Performance of the Night bonus.

What are your thoughts regarding this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is a UFC/boxing journalist who connects combat sports to pop culture. His deep passion for the UFC started in 2018, triggered by the UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor fight. He is a passionate writer who has a profound love for the sport and the skills that are used in it. Through his work, Sami aspires to connect combat sportsmen and their enthusiastic fans.


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