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Sean O’Malley Skeptical Umar Nurmagomedov vs. Cory Sandhagen Comes to Fruition



Sean O'Malley doubts Umar Nurmagomedov will show up for his upcoming clash against Cory Sandhagen.

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Sandhagen and Nurmagomedov are scheduled to headline UFC on ABC 7 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Aug. 3. O’Malley will keep an eye on what has been billed as a title eliminator matchup if it does come to fruition.

O’Malley took a dig at Nurmagomedov, accusing the Dagestani of pulling out of fights habitually. Nurmagomedov was previously scheduled to fight Sandhagen at UFC Nashville in August 2023 but a shoulder injury forced him out of the event.

O’Malley is also surprised at underdog status of Sandhagen, whom “Sugar” considers to be one of the most skilled fighters on the entire UFC roster. The bantamweight champ believes Sandhagen is better than Nurmagomedov and replied in affirmative when asked if he is picking “Sandman” in the upcoming UFC Abu Dhabi headliner.

“Yeah, I mean I’ll tune it if it happens,” O’Malley told MMAFighting.com. “We know ‘Umnar’ likes to pull out, something happens. So I’ll be surprised if the fight happens. I’m surprised Cory’s such a massive underdog. I think Cory’s one of the most skilled guys in the entire UFC. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Cory beat him at all... I think ‘Umnar’ is as good as everyone thinks he is, I just think Cory’s better.”

O’Malley is expected to defend his title against Merab Dvalishvili sometime this year. If “Sugar” gets past Dvalishvili, he could the winner of Sandhagen vs. Nurmagomedov next. While O’Malley seemingly made a conscious effort to mispronounce Nurmagomedov’s first name, he agrees Sandhagen will be fun matchup.

Nurmagomedov recently returned to action at UFC Fight Night 238 in March after a 14-month hiatus against Bekzat Almakhan. Nurmagomedov survived an early knockdown, the first one of his career, and outgrappled Almakhan to maintain his perfect record with a unanimous decision triumph.
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