‘Serious’ Umar Nurmagomedov wants Cory Sandhagen fight rebooked: ‘I can finish him’

LAS VEGAS – Umar Nurmagomedov is tired of messing around.

After extending his unbeaten record Saturday at UFC Fight Night 238 with a unanimous decision win over newcomer Bekzat Almakhan at the UFC Apex, Nurmagomedov (17-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) voiced frustrations over the narratives that are tied to his MMA career.

In particular, Nurmagomedov took aim at those who criticize his inactive schedule and key fight withdrawal in a scheduled main event vs. Cory Sandhagen at UFC on ESPN 50 this past August.

When presented with the opportunity at the UFC Fight Night 238 post-fight news conference, Nurmagomedov attempted to set the record straight.

“Everybody talks about my pullouts,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Junkie and other reporters. “In my life, I pulled out because of me, my health – two times. First time, I was sick. My face was very big, some stuff, and I didn’t sleep all night. I was very sick. I didn’t remember something worse than that time in my life. I didn’t fight, but it was the fight with Sergey Morozov. Later, I fought with him. Second time because of me, my health, I pulled out because of my shoulder. I injured my shoulder and I did surgery. I will fight with Cory Sandhagen again, I hope. It’s two times I pulled out because of me.

“Other when coronavirus came, my uncle passed away, when my opponents pulled out. They’re going to count everything and say, ‘Umar pulled out eight times.’ No, it’s not true. I pulled out two times. One time I fought with this same guy again. I don’t think someone is scared. I think everyone who comes to do this job goes inside and tries to damage each other. Everyone is brave. I just want to fight.”

Before Nurmagomedov’s fight against Almakhan, where he was knocked down for the first time and forced to rally for a dominant sweep on the scorecards, Sandhagen said he would be interested in rescheduling their canceled bout if Nurmagomedov looked “awesome.”

Nurmagomedov, 28 hopes his performance convinced Sandhagen to take the fight again, because he badly wants to prove himself against the elite of the bantamweight division.

“I talk because I know what job they did – I know other guys what they are doing,” Nurmagomedov said. “The way I’m talking, I can smash and I can finish Petr Yan. I’m serious. When I talk about Cory Sandhagen, that I can finish him, I’m serious – not because I’m cocky or something like that. No, guys, I have very good team. Look at my team. We have three or four guys who are lightweight champions. Who else’s team has that? Nobody.

“Next is Cory Sandhagen. He (wants to) fight me on International (Fight Week). If he don’t want to and somebody else, I don’t care. I really don’t care.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 238.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie