Right before the biggest fight of his life, Cory Sandhagen was calm as can be. The stakes were high – a No. 1 contender fight against the streaking Aljamain Sterling – but as Sandhagen waited to make the walk to the Octagon in the UFC Apex at UFC 250, any sense of butterflies were absent, and he was ready to have the kind of performance that would potentially launch him into a title fight just six fights into his UFC career.

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“I was like, ‘Oh man, this is great. I’m going in, and I don’t have a ton of jitters and this and that,’” Sandhagen said. “It ended up being a really bad thing because when I did get in there, I realized how that is not the type of headspace you want to be in when you’re in something as intense as a combat fight.”

“I think that the technical errors were a result of a being-in-a-correct-headspace error,” he said. “I realized that I wasn’t experienced enough to know what type of headspace and what type of arousal-level I need to be at in order to perform in a fight.”

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