Umar Nurmagomedov says fight with Cory Sandhagen expected to happen during International Fight Week

Umar Nurmagomedov

After more than a year on the shelf, Umar Nurmagomedov returned to the Octagon on Saturday night, delivering a dominant performance against newcomer Bekzat Almakhan.

After being knocked down in the opening minute, Nurmagomedov rallied back and ran away with the bout courtesy of his signature Dagestani-style wrestling. He moved to 17-0 in his mixed martial arts career and signaled that he was ready for a big step up in competition.

“I want to fight with Cory Sandhagen,” Nurmagomedov said in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. “It’s gonna be a contender fight.”

Appearing at the post-fight press event, Nurmagomedov echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that there is already a date in place for his long-awaited clash with ‘Sandman.’

“Right now, they said we have a date,” he said. “[International Fight Week] with Cory Sandhagen. Before this fight they were talking about this. Cory talked about this and I think it’s going to happen.”

Cory Sandhagen and Umar Nurmagomedov were previously scheduled to meet at UFC Nashville in August, but Nurmagomedov withdrew from the contest. Sandhagen went on to fight Rob Font in the evening’s headline, scoring a unanimous decision to make it three in a row.

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Currently, ‘Sandman’ is holding strong at the No. 3 spot in the bantamweight rankings while Nurmagomedov is sitting firmly outside the top 10, residing at No. 13.