Sandhagen Hoping for Cruz at UFC 248

Cory Sandhagen lost his originally scheduled UFC Raleigh bout, but he now has eyes on UFC 248 and, ideally, a bantamweight legend in former champion Dominick Cruz.

Sandhagen was originally scheduled to face Frankie Edgar in what would have been Edgar’s 135-pound debut in the co-main event of UFC Raleigh on January 25. Edgar, however, elected to fill-in for Brian Ortega on short notice to take on “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the main event of last week’s UFC Busan event.

Edgar was dominated and finished in the first round, putting him on medical suspension and officially putting him out of the Raleigh, North Carolina, card. Sandhagen has also since been removed from the card and is now looking at a potential fight at UFC 248 on March 7.

And while it may be very unlikely, he has a name in mind to face — Cruz.

“Ideally, me and Cruz fight in [the] first week of March,” Sandhagen said. “Ideally I fight on that date against Dominick Cruz, if that doesn’t happen then I’m likely going to have to wait until later March or April when this second round of bantamweight fights comes up and I can snag one of those top five guys.”

Cruz came over from the WEC to the UFC as bantamweight champion, but injuries quickly took their toll, and he officially vacated the title in early 2014. He returned at UFC 178 later that year and reclaimed the bantamweight title in January 2016 with a win over T.J. Dillashaw. He retained against Urijah Faber at UFC 199 before losing it to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. Cruz hasn’t returned to the Octagon since, as injuries once again have kept him on the sidelines.

Sandhagen knows there’s not a high probability he fights Cruz, despite his hearings Cruz wants to return in the first quarter of 2020. Should that be the case, he wants to face someone in the top-five of the rankings, as the contenders’ picture is a bit crowded.

“I’m not going to try to chase a fight with Cruz too much because I think that the division is in a spot right now — all of the fights I feel like are going to do similar things for me so for example, if I fight Moraes, or if I fight Yan or if I fight Cruz, or Sterling or Aldo, or whoever else there is to fight in that top five area, fighting either of those guys isn’t a ticket to a title shot. There’s still no clear contender, I just don’t want to be left in the dust.”

Original Story: MMAJunkie

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