Cory Sandhagen doubles down on Chito Vera criticism: ‘Did you learn anything from our fight?’

Cory Sandhagen understands Marlon Vera’s frustration after UFC 299.

Sandhagen drew the ire of Vera in March following Vera’s blowout loss to UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley at UFC 299. In a video on his YouTube channel, Sandhagen was critical of his past opponent’s performance to the point where he proclaimed that Vera “obviously had no business being in the cage with O’Malley.” That criticism drew a pointed response from Vera, and Sandhagen can understand why.

“I went a little hard on ‘Chito,’” Sandhagen acknowledged recently on The MMA Hour.

“Yeah, I shouldn’t have gone that hard on ‘Chito,’ but I was kind of upset, honestly, that night. If I’m being real candid, I was a little upset.”

Despite being ranked lower than many UFC bantamweight contenders, Vera was awarded the shot at O’Malley because of his past history with the champion. Vera previously defeated O’Malley via first-round knockout in August 2020 and was the first name on O’Malley’s lips after the Montana native captured the UFC bantamweight title.

History did not repeat itself in the rematch, however. O’Malley battered Vera from pillar to post to win a lopsided decision at UFC 299 and secure the first defense of his belt. Afterward, Sandhagen called Vera’s performance “unbelievably uncompetitive” and said he felt “like a dummy” for thinking the “homeless-looking” challenger would’ve put up somewhat of a fight.

“Dude, I just fought. Dude, it didn’t [go] my way, and you make your whole f*cking douchebag YouTube videos?” Vera ranted against Sandhagen on The MMA Hour after UFC 299. “Dude, stick to fighting.

“You’re not a f*cking influencer. You look like a f*cking idiot, but I get it. … Everybody wants to do the [podcasts], and now we see … they become like school teachers now.”

Looking back on the situation, Sandhagen acknowledges there was more behind his criticism than just a bad performance.

After dominating Vera in his own five-round decision in March 2023, everything about Vera’s opportunity and eventual showing just left a bad taste in Sandhagen’s mouth.

“One, I didn’t really dig the fact that he was the one fighting for the title,” Sandhagen said. “Granted, I was hurt, but it still didn’t feel right to me. And that’s not his fault either. I’ll give him a little bit of credit for that, where that’s not necessarily his fault, because if someone asks you to fight for a title, you don’t say no.

“But just watching how the fight went also — and again, I’m trying not to go hard on ‘Chito’ because that’s not my style — but I was like, ‘Man, you’re literally fighting a replica of me, essentially, who does things a little bit differently. But same build, same style almost — and you went in and you fought almost the exact same [as you did against me]. Like, which improvements did you make? Why didn’t you at least attempt a takedown? Why didn’t you at least do things a little bit differently than when you fought me? Like, did you learn anything from our fight?’

“And so that upset me,” Sandhagen continued. “Like, it upsets me when people, I don’t feel like — I’m trying not to go hard — it upsets me when people don’t come in better than there were before, because it just means that they’re just, I don’t know what they’re doing.”

Sandhagen returns from a year-long injury layoff on August 3 in a pivotal matchup against Umar Nurmagomedov at UFC Abu Dhabi.

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