Cory Sandhagen (17-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) didn’t hide his frustration over the fight schedule between Sean O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Marlon Vera (23-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC). Set in March, the timeline doesn’t complement Sandhagen’s plan for a first-half 2024 comeback after a tricep surgery. This means Sandhagen would have to face another fight in order to secure the title shot he’s been aiming for.

According to the American MMA fighter’s recent statements, he plans to return to fight for the title between April and May. However, with the bout between O’Malley and Vera set in March, this will likely be impossible for Sandhagen, who called it “a bummer.”

“Why March? Fight earlier so that I can fight earlier,” Sandhagen told combat sports analyst Luke Thomas in an interview. “I don’t think it’s the most favorable matchup for O’Malley, but I still think that O’Malley will likely win. March? I was hoping that they’d fight in January and then I would be able to come back in like April or May or something.”

Sandhagen received his tricep injury from his last fight against Rob Font during the main event of UFC Nashville in August. While Sandhagen managed to outpower Font during the entire bout, the fighter sustained injury.

“Hey Nashville, I wanted to deliver a more exciting fight, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of elbow problems recently and I think I tore my [right] triceps in the first round,” said Sandhagen after the bout.

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