Michael Bisping credits Cory Sandhagen for ‘willing to risk it all’ vs. Umar Nurmagomedov

Michael Bisping praises Cory Sandhagen for risking his ranking vs. Umar Nurmagomedov.

Sandhagen (17-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) takes on Nurmagomedov (17-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in the UFC on ABC 7 main event, which takes place Aug. 3 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

After Merab Dvalishvili gets his shot at UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley, Bisping expects the next No. 1 contender to emerge out of the winner between Sandhagen and Nurmagomedov.

“When it comes to contenders, Cory Sandhagen is right there,” Bisping told TNT Sports. “He has proven himself as the worthy guy, but he’s got to continue fighting to establish himself and get that shot. There is no one better, there’s no one hungrier, there’s no one more undeniable than Umar Nurmagomedov.

“Of course with that last name, with the resume, the undefeated record and the well-rounded skills. (He’s) Dagestani – we know the wrestling is there. But the man is a kickboxing phenom, as well. This is a tremendous fight. Of course, it’s the main event and whoever wins this, they have to be next for Sean O’Malley.”

Bisping thinks both Sandhagen and Nurmagomedov have a lot to lose, but it’s No. 2 ranked UFC bantamweight Sandhagen who’s fighting someone ranked eight spots below him.

“It’s kind of a bad situation for both of them,” Bisping said. “On paper, they’re both right there. Cory Sandhagen has earned a title fight. Remember that absolute washout he had of (Marlon) ‘Chito’ Vera? No disrespect to ‘Chito’ – he’s a good friend of mine – but Cory Sandhagen was just one step ahead. He’s a beautiful striker. He’s got great submissions. He’s got excellent wrestling. He’s very tall and long for the division.

“He’s beaten some great competition, and now he’s going to take on the undefeated Dagestani with a ton of hype and a great last name. So I kind of feel for Cory Sandhagen, but credit to this guy, kudos to him, because he’s willing to do it. He’s willing to risk it all to go up against Umar Nurmagomedov. It’s a sensational fight.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie