Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi will finally fight at UFC Uruguay after two previous attempts failed.
Back in June, the two were set to fight at UFC Stockholm, but Latifi got hurt and was forced to pull out just days before the fight. The scrap was then re-booked for UFC Newark, but Visa issues from “No Time” postponed that a week to UFC Uruguay, which goes down this Saturday on ESPN+ (learn how to watch here).
For Oezdemir, to have the fight moved so many times was disappointing, but he is glad the fight is finally happening.
“Yeah, it was really disappointing. I wanted to have a quick fight and a quick turnaround after my last fight. Just bounce back and get a win,” Oezdemir told BJPENN.com. “I wanted Ilir to feel the power with all the rage I had. It didn’t happen and I was disappointed. Now it will happen in Uruguay.
“The UFC proposed that fight again and we said yes. I did a Q&A the day of the weigh-ins and dropped a few names I wanted to fight, Dominick Reyes, Anthony Smith, Daniel Cormier, just anyone I lost to. The UFC wanted to do this fight, so it is a fight that was supposed to happen so why not finally make it,” he added.
Oezdemir knows he must win this fight. He is on a three-fight losing streak, although he doesn’t believe he lost to Reyes. However, the Swiss fighter is not worried about getting cut after losing three in a row. Instead, he knows he puts on fan-friendly fights but says this fight is crucial to win.
“It is also different because I have been facing top-ranked guys, and always people on a winning streak. It is not like I am fighting unranked guys. I don’t look bad in my fights and am competitive against the top-three guys. Reyes, I never felt in danger,” Oezdemir explained. “It depends on a lot of factors and I’m a company guy. I always take the fights and never turn any down But, yeah I mean it is important. I want to show everyone that I’m still here. I’m still a top fighter and deserve a ranking among the top fighters in the world. It is something I’m going to have to prove on Saturday.”
Something that may help or hurt Volkan Oezdemir is the fact he and Ilir Latifi used to train with each other. While that was many years ago, Oezdemir believes he it could play a part in the fight.
“I was really young when we were training and he was an established fighter. He is the same guys since then, just stronger. I plan on exploiting him,” he said. “I think my striking is way too technical for him. Plus my power is there, so I think it will be a really good fight for me to showcase my skills.”
With a win here, Volkan Oezdemir wants to get on the upcoming UFC Copenhagen card and start to work his way back up the top of the division. He knows the light heavyweight division needs new contenders and could very well be a couple of wins away from fighting for a UFC title once again.
“I don’t care about the rankings. Anyone in the top-10 is dangerous and elite fighters. What is going to be important is getting back in the top-five. Ilir won’t push me there,” Volkan Oezdemir concluded. “But, after this fight, I could get a top-five guy. I’m only looking to fight tough guys and guys that are close to the top. It is all about who you fight and when you fight them.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/7/2019.