Cory Sandhagen theorizes why he was passed up for a title fight vs. UFC champ Sean O’Malley

Cory Sandhagen understands why he may have been snubbed from a chance at a title fight.

Bantamweight champion Sean O'Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) makes his first title defense at UFC 299 on March 9 against Marlon Vera (23-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC), who was handily defeated by Sandhagen this past March.

After he beat Vera, Sandhagen (17-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) scored another lopsided win over Rob Font at UFC on ESPN 50, but tore his triceps early. Sandhagen’s win over Font wasn’t the most crowd-pleasing performance, and he knows it.

“The whole thing where ‘you’re only as good as your last fight,’ I think is a very true thing – especially with how quick the UFC and just life in general moves,” Sandhagen said on the JAXXON PODCAST. “I think that your last one has to be big and it has to cause excitement and it has to do all of that.

“Getting hurt is something I can’t really control. The fight (vs. Font) wasn’t good. It didn’t build up a lot of hype. I get that. What the UFC cares about the most is the product you put out when you fight. I think that if you fight exciting and you finish guys and you go out and fight your ass off, I think that’s what they care about the most.”

Vera has history with O’Malley which helped him secure the title shot. “Chito” is the only fighter to beat O’Malley, which the champion insists was a fluke. Although Sandhagen gave Vera a tough time, he doesn’t think O’Malley beats him with ease.

“‘Chito’ doesn’t attack the same way that typical guys do,” Sandhagen said. “‘Chito’ likes staying very stationary. When he backs up, he’s like a Kung Fu guy moving backwards – so really hard to hit good. O’Malley doesn’t really close distance very good. He’s not like a 1-1-2, moving-forward guy. He’s not that guy.

“I think the ‘Chito’-O’Malley fight is going to be tough for Sean way more than what people are anticipating. I think that what ‘Chito’ does really good is makes reads and f*cking capitalizes and hits people quick and hits them hard. I think that he’s going to potentially be able to do that with O’Malley. I also don’t know how durable O’Malley is. That fight is going to be way closer than I think other ones.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie