Petr Yan plans to show he’s ‘the champion for a reason’ against Cory Sandhagen: ‘There’s nothing interim about this belt’
Petr Yan believes his UFC 267 co-main event fight against Cory Sandhagen should be for the vacant bantamweight title.
Yan was supposed to rematch Aljamain Sterling on the card, after their controversial fight at UFC 259 where Sterling became the new champ due to Yan being DQ’d. However, it was recently revealed the champ was out of the fight as he wasn’t medically cleared. Once that happened, Sandhagen agreed to step up on short notice. The two will now fight for the interim title, but for Yan, he wasn’t surprised to see Sterling pull out of the fight.
“I wasn’t surprised, you could see it coming for a while. This guy doesn’t want to fight me again,” Yan said to BJPENN.com. “I don’t care about Sterling, my goal is to get the belt back. I’m not gonna wait for someone who doesn’t want to fight me.”
When Yan found out Sterling wasn’t medically cleared, the Russian told his management he wanted to remain on the card and would fight anyone. With that, Sandhagen was the one who stepped up, but Yan confirms that was not the first opponent he was asked to fight on this date.
“I know he wasn’t the first one who they offered this fight, but I guess he was the best available option. I told my management team I will fight anyone on that date,” Yan said.
Now that he’s fighting Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267, Petr Yan believes the fight should be for the vacant title. He knows everyone will consider the winner of this the true champion of the division.
“Yes I do believe this should be for the vacant title, there’s nothing interim about this belt. Sterling knew he won’t be able to fight in October. But, still, since April he was claiming he will so they won’t strip him. He signed the agreement but never was going to show up,” Yan said. “If he was honest with UFC from the start I could’ve fought for the belt in July or August. Then, I defend it in October while he is recovering. Now he is saying it takes 12 to 18 months to recover, didn’t he know that when he did the surgery?”
Ultimately, vacant title or interim, Yan is confident he has the skillset to defeat Sandhagen and prove he is the best bantamweight alive.
“Cory is a very tough and deserving opponent, he fought well in his fight with TJ,” Yan said. “But I have an arsenal to beat anyone in the division, I will show I’m the champion for a reason. I will be ready for any scenario. I’m comfortable wherever fight will take place.”
Should Yan get his hand raised on Saturday, he doesn’t care who is next for him. He doubts Sterling wants to fight him again, so he will be ready for anyone.
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This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM
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