When Jon Jones failed a UFC 214 drug test, and the light heavyweight strap was returned to Daniel Cormier, the question of the next light heavyweight title challenger seemed to come down to two men: Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson and Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir.
In an effort to pick the next challenger for his reinstated title, Cormier took to social media to let the fans decide. Apparently, they landed on Oezdemir. From there, Cormier offered Oezdemir the title shot, and the Swiss knockout artist quickly accepted.
“I tried to fight [Alexander Gustafsson] and he didn’t respond,” he said. “So I guess it’s perfect for me to be fighting DC next.”
“I think it helped too because [Gustafsson] fought twice for the belt and he came really close,” he said. “I understand how frustrating it was. They were split decisions and a lot of fans were booing the results. So he’s kind of the uncrowned king, I guess. But I think, he’s already had two chances to fight for the title, and now it’s my time. I have that momentum, and the division [needs] fresh blood.”
Though Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir have agreed to fight, the official details still remain nebulous. So, with no date locked down at the moment, Oezdemir says he’s planning on taking a bit of time off.
“I still haven’t looked at the dates, but I don’t think it’s going to be before the beginning of the next year,” he said. “It’s been really quick since I’ve joined the UFC, it’s been non-stop. So now I’m just going to take some time off to breath a little bit and get ready for these big fights.”
Volkan Oezdemir was recently profiled in a documentary called The Anatomy of a Fighter. See it below:
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/5/2017.