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WASHINGTON — Cory Sandhagen is in a tricky situation.
The UFC bantamweight contender is still scheduled to welcome former UFC champion Frankie Edgar to the 135-pound division at UFC 245, but with a caveat. Edgar chose to replace an injured Brian Ortega and take on Chan Sung Jung at UFC on ESPN+ 23 in Busan, South Korea on Dec. 21.
Meaning, Edgar has only four weeks to recover from the featherweight fight against “Korean Zombie” and prepare Sandhagen (12-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in January at UFC on ESPN+ 25.
Edgar’s choice to fight in Busan could easily put the bout with Sandhagen on jeopardy.
“The line of information that I got is that he wants to fight in South Korea and then again in January, so I don’t know logistically how that’s going to work out,” Sandhangen told MMA Junkie on Friday. “Fighting ‘Korean Zombie’ in five rounds, I can’t imagine he’s going to be good, but if he is then ok.
“I don’t want to be put in limbo holding my breath all the way till December 21. Dieting and still training really hard, if I don’t know if I have a fight because I take it very seriously and that’s a lot of discipline in those weeks, which I’m ok in doing. But like I said, that just leaves me in limbo a little bit, but I don’t know, the UFC and my agent will have to work something out.”
Sandhagen is conflicted on keeping the Edgar matchup on the books. On one hand, Sandhagen wants to face someone of high caliber, but on the other he doesn’t want to be training for a fight he’s not sure will happen.
“I mean yeah, I still want to fight him, but I don’t know just because I don’t want to be left in limbo and I don’t want to hold my breath for that long,” Sandhagen said. “But of course I want to fight Frankie, I was pretty salty about it when I found out; I was like, ‘Oh man, when you sign a contract, you sign a contract. That’s what you do.’
“And it was under the understanding that Frankie wanted to make another run for the title at 135, which was just a little bit sad because I figure he’s taking this fight not because he wants to get closer to the title at 135, but because he wants another paycheck – which is completely fine.
“That isn’t where I am in my career. I’m trying to create a legacy right now and it just kind of sucks that was taken away from me. I know it’s not right now, but the potential of that being taken away from me that’s just a bummer because I was really looking forward to fight that guy.”
Sandhangen is not sure where to go from here, but he does have another name in mind besides Edgar.
“I think I’ve kind of earned my spot and there are a couple of people I want to fight,” Sandhagen said. “Aljamain (Sterling) is out right now, so I’m not going to even bother calling him out because he just had a surgery so that doesn’t make any sense. It’s either, in my head it’s got to be Frankie or (Dominick) Cruz that’s what I’ve kind of earned at this point – tough fights. So that’s what I’ve earned, so if it’s Frankie at a later date then ok, if it’s Cruz then ok. It doesn’t matter to me.”
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