“There is a difference in my mind that’s happening,” he said. “I think the most important thing is just the guy is really good. He’s proven time and time again that he’s really good, and then just remembering and coming back to that I’m really good too, and that I’m here as well, and although he has a lot more accolades and a lot more bigger fights and a lot bigger resume than I do, you build your resume by beating guys like that. It is a little bit harder to be confident fighting someone like Frankie if I’m being completely honest, but when you go in there, you’re in the right headspace, then it’s just about who’s the better fighter, and I think that I’m that guy.”
He added that he’s glad that the fight is happening more than a year from their original booking because of the improvements he’s made in his grappling. The coronavirus pandemic forced gyms and fighters to be more selective with their training sessions, and Sandhagen feels like the mat time put in with Elevation Fight Team and High Altitude Martial Arts has made him a “way, way better grappler.”
With the bantamweight title up for grabs at UFC 258 when Petr Yan makes his first defense against Sterling, this fight figures to have a lot to say about who challenges for the belt next. Edgar has expressed his belief that a finish over Sandhagen earns him a shot at the title, and Sandhagen feels similarly, adding that becoming the first man to submit Edgar is appealing to him.
“If the opportunity is given to me, I would really like to do that,” he said. “At the end of the day, I only care about winning. As long as I get my hand raised, I could care less. The statement that I want to make is I want to beat Frankie. I want to, if I can, submit him.”