Cory Sandhagen hoping for Sean O’Malley clash after Marlon Vera fight: “One of the most exciting fights in the 135 division”

By Josh Evanoff - March 23, 2023

UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen already has a callout set for this weekend.

Cory Sandhagen, Sean O'Malley

‘The Sandman’ has been out of action since his clash with Song Yadong last September. In that outing, Sandhagen scored a fourth-round stoppage win over ‘The Kung Fu Kid’. That victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for the former title challenger, as he previously suffered losses to T.J. Dillashaw and Petr Yan.

The bantamweight contender is slated to return in the main event of UFC San Antonio this Saturday. In the main event, Sandhagen will meet the fastly-rising Marlon Vera. ‘Chito’ enters the contest on a four-fight winning streak, including knockout wins over former champions Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar.

However, Cory Sandhagen is already focusing on what will happen after Saturday as well. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, the former title challenger discussed his plans to call out Sean O’Malley with a win. ‘Sugar’ has been out of action since a controversial decision win over Petr Yan in October.

In the interview, Sandhagen stated that given the timeline of the upcoming bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, he might as well fight O’Malley. The bantamweight contender stated that rankings-wise not much else makes sense.

Cory Sandhagen

Image: Cory Sandhagen on Instagram

“[A win over ‘Chito’] obviously moves me closer to taking out someone who has a lot of hype,” Cory Sandhagen stated. “It moves me closer to the title. But also, why wouldn’t they do me and O’Malley afterward? I can’t really think of a reason the UFC wouldn’t want to have that fight, especially with Cejudo and Sterling booked all the way in [May]. Why wouldn’t they do me and O’Malley?” (h/t MMA Fighting)

“That, on paper, will be one of the most exciting fights in the 135 division. A lot more exciting, in my opinion, than the Sterling and Cejudo matchup. I don’t really know why they wouldn’t do a fight with me and O’Malley. I think that’s honestly what makes the most sense after this one.”

What do you make of this news? Do you want to see Cory Sandhagen vs. Sean O’Malley? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!


Cory Sandhagen Marlon Vera Sean O'Malley UFC UFC San Antonio