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Morning Report: Aljamain Sterling unthreatened by a Cory Sandhagen rematch, says it ‘might go a little bit longer’

Aljamain Sterling wasn’t impressed by Cory Sandhagen’s performance at UFC Nashville this past weekend.

A wrestle-heavy approach from the top-ranked bantamweight contender Sandhagen was the last thing fight fans expected to see in Saturday night’s main event. Tasked with a fellow striker in Rob Font, Sandhagen employed a consistent takedown threat, going a perfect seven for seven throughout their five rounds en route to a unanimous decision win.

It wasn’t the most thrilling of performances but an effective one as it got the job done for “Sandman.” The champion Sterling was critical of both men for their showings and was surprised to see the action play out as they did.

“That main event, I gotta call it what it is,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “That was as duck as it gets. I really thought there was going to be a complete opposite turn of events. I figured Rob Font was really gonna come out looking to insert himself. I know he was pressuring forward.

“I’m trying to be respectful and at the same time reasonable in my analysis with this. I just think Font has a lot of holes when it comes to grappling. You can’t just go for a kimura hoping to get off your back with just that. You need a little more than that in your backpack. Your tools, so to speak. I was honestly pretty disappointed with his lack of ability to be able to get back to his feet. I think he might have gotten up once maybe twice out of the five or six takedowns that he’s giving up. That’s tough, man.”

Sterling acknowledged that the fight was put together on short notice after an injury forced Umar Nurmagomedov out of the headliner against Sandhagen. The loss dropped Font to 1-3 in his last four after picking up a big first-round knockout win over Adrian Yanez at UFC 287 in April.

Regardless of Sandhagen getting a strong third straight win since back-to-back losses to former champions Petr Yan and T.J. Dillashaw, Sterling just doesn’t think it’s enough for a title shot. If it is and they’re to cross paths again, Sterling expects a similar outcome to his first-round rear-naked choke at UFC 250 in June 2020.

“Font, he wanted it. Sandhagen, he wanted it,” Sterling said. “The difference is nobody showed that they wanted the next title shot with a definitive win. Respectfully, when I fought Sandhagen that was my No. 1 contender fight and I definitively shown that I was the next guy in line. Finished him in less than two minutes.

“Now people are saying the rematch is gonna be different. Guys, there’s not much different that I can say will happen in the rematch other than it might go a little bit longer. I haven’t seen the growth from the top position and let me be fair, I know he hurt his tricep, possibly tore it. He had positions where he could have capitalized and done a lot of cool things with the dominant positions that he had and he just kind of chose to stay on top and just coast his way to the finish (line).”

The champion noted how he and top-ranked bantamweight contender and best friend Merab Dvalishvili receive flack all the time for their wrestling-based game plans. Therefore, Sterling doesn’t want him and his teammate to be called boring anymore after seeing what Sandhagen did to Font. Coincidentally, Sterling’s next title defense against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 next Saturday night will be one that can guarantee some takedown threats.

“I’m not saying that’s wrong,” Sterling said of Sandhagen’s safer approach. “I’m just saying if you want to insert yourself into the next title shot to fight for the vacant title after I’m done mopping up O’Malley, you leave so much room for doubt where you got Merab who’s already a shoo-in. Who’s his next competitor?”

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The MMA Hour.

UFC Vegas 78 Promo.

UFC Connected: Luque.

Free fight.

Global Bellator victories.

Mullet power.

BJJ Exercises.

On To the Next One. MMA Fighting’s Alex K. Lee and Jose Youngs discuss the matches to make after UFC Nashville.



Oh, Reug Reug…





Poster drop.


Response and prediction.


Incredible form.



Da’Mon Blackshear (13-5-1) vs. José Johnson (15-7); UFC Vegas 78, Aug. 12

Volkan Oezdemir (18-7) vs. Bogdan Guskov (14-2); UFC Paris, Sept. 2

Sedriques Dumas (8-1) vs. Abu Azaitar (14-3-1); UFC 294, Oct. 21

Rodrigo Nascimento (10-1, 1 NC) vs. Don’Tale Mayes (10-5, 1 NC); UFC Fight Night, Nov. 4

Thanks for reading, guys. Don’t forget to check in on your loved ones. Be well.


Who should Cory Sandhagen fight next?

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    Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley winner

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    Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley loser

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    Merab Dvalishvili

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    Umar Nurmagomedov

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    Other (Comment below)

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