Top contender Cory Sandhagen says the UFC matchmakers ‘pinky promised’ that one more win will earn him a bantamweight title shot.
Sandhagen lost a razor-thin split decision to his former training partner Dillashaw in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 32 card. The fight was extremely close and legitimately could have gone either way, with the judges deciding that Dillashaw did just a little bit more in the fight in order to earn the victory. But it’s not like Sandhagen was blown out, and had there been a different set of judges last night, it’s possible that he could have gotten his hand raised. Although he’s not happy with the result of the fight, Sandhagen has already been told by the UFC that they aren’t holding it against him.
Speaking to UFC reporter Megan Olivi following UFC Vegas 32, Sandhagen confirmed that he spoke to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby backstage after the loss to Dillashaw, and Shelby told him that the UFC will still give him a title shot if he gets one more victory.
"Sean Shelby just talked to me in the back. I made him pinky promise me that I'm still one fight away from the title."
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 25, 2021
“Sean Shelby just talked to me in the back. I made him pinky promise me that I’m still one fight away from winning the title. He came back, he said, ‘There’s nothing I can do about (the judging), but I promise you you’re still one fight away from the title.’ And I said, ‘I’m gonna make you pinky promise me,’ and he did. So, that’s still what we’re looking at,” said Sandhagen.
Based on these comments from Sandhagen, it appears as though the UFC matchmakers are essentially treating this loss as a win for “The Sandman,” as he isn’t being docked too harshly because of the questionable judging, though he’ll still need to win one more fight.
Do you think Cory Sandhagen should be fighting for the UFC bantamweight title with one more victory inside the Octagon?