Bautista (14-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) notched his sixth win in a row when he defeated Ricky Simon by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 234. With the aim of breaking into the UFC’s top 10 bantamweight rankings, the 30-year-old called out Rob Font.
Sandhagen is on the cusp of title contention, and Bautista knows he’s not quite there yet. Bautista lost his UFC debut on short notice to Sandhagen in 2019 and relishes the opportunity to someday avenge that loss.
“I definitely want to fight Cory Sandhagen before I fight for the title,” Bautista told MMA Junkie Radio. “That’s another one I want to get back for sure. But, like I said, I have to work my way up, and I would have to feel right about asking for that.”
Bautista, who’s also ready to fight the likes of Henry Cejudo and Merab Dvalishvili, knows he isn’t in a position to be campaigning for those fights. However, it’s not a matter of competition.
“It’s just that they’re bigger stars,” Bautista explained. “Just for promotion-wise, I think it would be hard to sell those fights. Fight-wise, all the fighters would think those are awesome fights and would watch it no matter what. So, I think a great story would be against Sandhagen. I lost my debut against him, so for me to work all that way straight back to him at the top, I think that would be a great selling point.”