Taking just 28 seconds to flatten Edgar in the opening round in the UFC Vegas 18 co-main event was the second consecutive highlight reel finish for Sandhagen after he connected with a spinning heel kick to finish Marlon Moraes this past December.
Now with two straight knockouts on his resume, along with a 7-1 overall record in the octagon, the 28-year-old from Colorado is ready for his shot at gold. He’s also got a message if a certain former champion is trying to jump the line, as well.
“I’m a different monster than before I fought Aljamain Sterling,” Sandhagen said when addressing his only loss in the UFC. “He taught me some lessons. I know [Petr] Yan has been talking about fighting T.J. [Dillashaw] after [he fights Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259], and that’s if he even wins that fight. That’s garbage to me.
“Fight me, I’m the toughest guy next to Aljamain. If Aljamain wins, I owe him a nap. He’s gonna get that nap. The winner of those two gets knocked out by me in July.”
Dillashaw just recently completed a two-year suspension after he tested positive for EPO (erythropoietin) following a knockout loss to Henry Cejudo back in January 2019. Dillashaw relinquished the bantamweight title just before the United States Anti-Doping Agency dropped the hammer after he violated the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Sandhagen obviously doesn’t believe Dillashaw should jump the line, especially after he put together back-to-back knockouts against a past title challenger and a former UFC champion.
Judging by his comments during an interview on the UFC Vegas 18 post-fight show, Sandhagen is coming for anybody and everybody standing in his path to finally claim the bantamweight title.
“It’s kill or be killed,” Sandhagen said. “I heard an interview where Frankie was saying he really enjoys fighting and that’s what’s keeping him motivated. That’s not where I am. I’m in a different place.
“I’m coming for legacy, I’m coming for world titles. I’m coming to be the king. That’s why I’m here and I’m trying to hurt the people bad when I’m in there with them.”
Sandhagen isn’t much for predictions, though when cornered for a pick, he chooses Sterling as the fighter who will claim the bantamweight title in March. In a perfect world, Sandhagen will then avenge his only loss in the UFC and become champion later this year.
“Win the belt in July – defend it by the end of the year,” Sandhagen said.
As far as his epic knockout from Saturday night, Sandhagen admired his handiwork. But nothing in the fight with Edgar happened by accident, because he was measuring that shot just before it landed.
According to “The Sandman,” the height and reach advantage he maintained over Edgar was the perfect set up for the second fastest knockout by knee striker in UFC history behind only Jorge Masvidal’s five-second demolition against Ben Askren in 2019.
“I let him get a little closer,” Sandhagen explained. “I’m longer and I know that I appear long so I can kind of corral these guys into my range without them even knowing. Most of the time they’re in the range where I can hit them and sometimes I do.
“I just corral them into a range where I was able to hit him and he didn’t know that. He was just inches away from getting finished and then I just jumped.”