UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen will be removed from the UFC Raleigh card, and no replacement opponent will be sought for Frankie Edgar.
The No. 4-ranked bantamweight on the UFC roster, Sandhagen was expected to take on Edgar in what was to be the biggest fight of his young career and also Edgar’s 135lbs debut. However, the UFC instead chose Edgar to replace Brian Ortega against The Korean Zombie in the main event of UFC Busan.
Edgar was still technically scheduled to fight Sandhagen at UFC Raleigh next month even with The Korean Zombie fight booked, but after Edgar suffered a vicious first-round TKO loss, he was medically suspended and pulled from the card.
Instead of finding a replacement opponent for Sandhagen and keeping him on the UFC Raleigh card, the UFC will instead pull the rising star from the event, Sandhagen himself told MMA DNA.
Cory Sandhagen will NOT fight at #UFCRaleigh on January 25th. There will be no replacement for Frankie Edgar.
Sandhagen tells us he hopes to fight in March/April against either Marlon Moraes or Dominick Cruz.
— MMA DNA (@MMADNANL) December 23, 2019
“BREAKING. Cory Sandhagen will NOT fight at #UFCRaleigh on January 25th. There will be no replacement for Frankie Edgar. Sandhagen tells us he hopes to fight in March/April against either Marlon Moraes or Dominick Cruz.”
Instead of fighting Edgar, Sandhagen is now hoping to fight later in the spring in March or April against either Marlon Moraes or Dominick Cruz, the former UFC bantamweight champion.
Moraes recently picked up a controversial split decision win over Jose Aldo at UFC 245. However, he has already lost to UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo so even though Moraes is technically ranked as the No. 1 contender at 135lbs, it’s very unlikely he will be next in line to fight for the belt. This callout by Sandhagen, then, makes a lot of sense.
As for Cruz, he hasn’t fought since a decision loss to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016. But he is a former champion and remains one of the most highly-respected fighters in the division despite being pulled from the official rankings due to inactivity.
Who would you like to see Cory Sandhagen fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/23/2019.