Last Saturday, in the first fight of the stacked UFC 214 main card, rapidly rising light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir picked up yet another thunderous first-round knockout win, this time over one of the division’s top dogs in Jimi Manuwa. With this win, Oezdemir solidified his status as one of the top light heavyweight contenders, and one of the most deserving men of a crack at the new champ, Jon Jones.
Unfortunately for Oezdemir, there are a number of high-profile opponents on Jones’ menu at present. The biggest name of the bunch is former heavyweight champ and WWE star Brock Lesnar, though Alexander Gustafsson and the recently retired Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would also seem to be options.
On the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio, Volkan Oezdemir discussed where he thinks he fits into the crowded light heavyweight title picture. While his goal is to win the title as quickly as possible, he’s prepared to take another fight in the meantime to elevate his standing.
“If you look at my nickname, it’s “No Time,” so my first goal is to go to the belt as fast as I can,” he said. “So I would love to fight Jones right now. I just think he’s really not interested. It’s just a dangerous fight for him, he has nothing to gain from that. Also, pay-per-view wise, I’m not going to sell as much as Lesnar, obviously, Gustafsson or ‘AJ’.”
Oezdemir then elaborated on Jones’ interest in a fight with Lesnar, which is looking like a more and more likely possibility.
“Jones has his eyes on Brock Lesnar,” he said. “This is probably the money fight, and I think Lesnar is still suspended for six months, and then he has to enter into the USADA testing pool. I don’t know how long he’s going to take, and I want to stay active. That’s why I was thinking I would go for Gustafsson in the meantime, to see who the challenger is, who is number one, and who is really the king of Europe.”
“I need to build my name first, and that’s why Gustafsson is also a good fight.”
A possible Jones-Lesnar fight, of course, is likely to take some time to put together. So, if the UFC does decide this is the move they want to make, Oezdemir hopes they’ll introduce an interim light heavyweight title.
“They better make an interim title in the meantime, for sure.”
Whenever his shot at Jones occurs, Oezdemir is confident that he can defeat the seemingly unbeatable light heavyweight king. How exactly he plans to do so, however, will remain a secret till the cage door closes.
“That’s my little secret, and it’s going to stay my little secret,” he said.
Do you think Volkan Oezdemir should get the next light heavyweight title shot?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/3/2017.