Cory Sandhagen agrees that the UFC should’ve created an interim belt when Aljamain Sterling wasn’t cleared to fight Petr Yan at UFC 267.
The two were set for their highly-anticipated rematch but after Sterling wasn’t cleared, the promotion booked Yan vs. Sandhagen for the interim bantamweight title. For Sandhagen, he says that is the way the UFC should’ve handled it as he thinks stripping Sterling is unfair due to the fact he just won the belt back in March.
“No, not really, man. With the way that it went, you know, I think that would be-it depends on how long he really has to be out for. I think it would be kind of a bad way to strip someone,” Sandhagen said on The MMA Hour (via LowKick). “For one, he got a really flagrant foul on him in his last fight. Also, man, the guy is actually injured. The guy had actual neck surgery, so I don’t think you should strip someone for getting flagrantly fouled or for having a legit injury… Unless it is going to be a long time.”
Although most people think champions should get a year to defend their belt for an interim title is created or they get stripped, Cory Sandagen disagrees. Instead, he believes nine months is what the timeline should be as you need to fight more than once a year.
“I don’t know. Nine months sounds good. I think if you’re not fighting within nine months, yeah, I think you should get stripped. I think a year is a really long time to keep people waiting,” Sandhagen said. “You don’t get a ton of fights; you don’t get a ton of time in this sport, especially in your prime. I think making someone wait a year is kind of a long time.”
Regardless, Sandhagen will be fighting Yan for the interim belt at UFC 267 on October 30 in Abu Dhabi.