Cory Sandhagen open to rebooking Umar Nurmagomedov fight as long as “he looks good” on March 2

By Cole Shelton - February 22, 2024

Cory Sandhagen is open to fighting Umar Nurmagomedov his next time out.

Cory Sandhagen and Umar Nurmagomedov

Sandhagen and Nurmagomedov were supposed to headline UFC Nashville last August, but an injury knocked the Dagestani fighter out of the fight. Sandhagen ended up getting a lopsided decision win over Rob Font on that card and hasn’t fought since. Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is set to return to the Octagon on March 2 against UFC newcomer Bekzat Almakhan.

With Cory Sandhagen not currently having a fight, and all signs pointing to Merab Dvalishvili getting the next title shot, the American says he’s open to fighting Umar Nurmagomedov next as long as he impresses on March 2.

“Well, it wasn’t necessarily a no as much as it was like, ‘Hey, give me some time to think about it,’ because it does feel like I would maybe be a little slighted in that situation, only because I felt like I was now one fight ahead of fighting him, you know,” Cory Sandhagen said to MMA on Sirius XM. “If you’re paired up to fight someone and one guy pulls out, and then you win your fight, you’re kind of ahead, in my opinion, right?

“So, that was kind of that. But when I talked to the UFC initially and they brought that up, I was pretty much like, ‘Hey, just give me a little time to think and sit with that one,’ because if that’s what you guys are telling me is going to be for the title next, then absolutely. But if that’s not going to be the situation, then the rankings matter a little bit or at least they kind of do,” Sandhagen continued.

“Where I stand with Umar now is if he gets a good win on March 2, and he looks good, and he does awesome, and they don’t give me the title shot next, like do me and Umar at International Fight Week. So, obviously there’s a lot of things that need to have happened before that happens, but I’m still open to Umar. But, I just felt like I was one fight ahead of him, and now that he has the opportunity to not make that the case, then I’m definitely back open to it,” Cory Sandhagen concluded.

Should Umar Nurmagomedov get his hand raised on March 2 as most expect, then a fight against Cory Sandhagen would make sense, especially if Merab Dvalishvili does get the next title shot. Although Sandhagen wants it on International Fight Week, it could also be a Fight Night headliner which could set up the winner to get a title shot at the end of the year.

But, for now, Sandhagen will be paying close attention to how Nurmagomedov looks on March 2.


Cory Sandhagen UFC Umar Nurmagomedov