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"I kinda know how fast T.J. is, I kinda know how strong T.J. is" - Cory Sandhagen discusses the advantages of fighting former training partner T.J. Dillashaw

images via Instagram @tjdillashaw @enterthesandman135
images via Instagram @tjdillashaw @enterthesandman135
Frank Bonada
FEATURED WRITER

UFC 135-pound contender Cory Sandhagen is set to face off against former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw this weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 32.

Much of the intrigue in this fight is due to Dillashaw returning to the UFC for the first time since 2019. He was handed a two-year suspension following a positive test for performance enhancing drugs.

However, another interesting caveat to this main event bout is the fact that Cory Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw are former training partners.

In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Sandhagen discussed the difference between fighting an opponent that he's familiar with, in terms of style and physical attributes, compared to the usual case of fighting a complete stranger.

"I think when any fighter goes into a fight there's a few moments where you kinda realize as your fighting, things that were unknown become known," stated Cory Sandhagen. "So, like, you don't really know how strong the guy's gonna feel, you don't know how his grip is going to be when he grabs you. You don't know how quickly he's going to be able to cover distance. You don't know how fast his hands and kicks are going to be."

Cory Sandhagen on training with Dillashaw

Whilst this has been the case with the majority of Cory Sandhagen's opponents, Dillashaw is, of course, unique in that Sandhagen has first-hand experience in facing the 35-year-old's attributes. 'The Sandman' said:

"You go in with a lot of unknowns when you're fighting someone for the first time, which is ninety-nine percent the case. This isn't one of those ninety-nine percent times. I am going in with a lot more knowns. I kinda know how fast T.J. is, I kinda know how strong T.J. is. I know how quickly he covers distance. I know the energy that he brings into the cage and the intensity," stated Cory Sandhagen.

Catch Sandhagen's full interview with MMA Fighting below:

Whether these factors will play a difference for Sandhagen remains to be seen. Whilst it may be an advantage in some ways, Dillashaw will have the exact same knowledge of Sandhagen.

Regardless of their past history together, the fight promises to be an electric display of mixed martial arts that will likely see the winner fight for the title next. Who will be holding said title remains to be seen. Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are set for a rematch later in the year after a controversial DQ saw the belt handed to Sterling at UFC 259.


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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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