The UFC reinstated Daniel Cormier as light heavyweight champion after Jon Jones failed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug test prior to his UFC 214 win over “DC.”
This week (Fri. November 3, 2017) Cormier announced at a Fox Sports media lunch that his next title defense would come against No. 2-ranked Volkan Oezdemir (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“He is the fight,” Cormier said. “He’s won three fights in a row. I fought Gustafsson before. It was a great fight. Something new, something different. That’s pretty much when it boiled down to.”
No. 1-ranked Alexander Gustafsson has also made quite the case to challenge for the 205-pound belt next. The pair met before two years ago at UFC 192 where Cormier took home a split decision win in an epic back-and-forth battle. Cormier said that Gustafsson didn’t take the news too hard when he found out he wasn’t next in line for the belt:
“Alexander wasn’t too pissed off himself when I said it was Oezdemir,” Cormier said. “It was like, ‘I can wait.’ It’s not like he was up in arms. If I’m scared of Alex, then he’s just as scared of me. Nobody wants to go through that sh*t again that we went through. He wasn’t that mad. He accepted it pretty easily.”
Despite having lost to Jon Jones twice now in his MMA career, as they remain the only two blemishes on his record (the second was overturned to a No Contest after the failed drug test), Cormier is still holding out hope that he and “Bones” can meet inside the Octagon one last time:
“For me, personally, I prefer him to get a shorter suspension, so we could fight again,” Cormier said. “Of course I would fight him again. I am who I am, to fault. … I just like to fight him. I feel like I get better every time I prepare to fight him.
“I’m not gonna move on from our rivalry. It was too big. It’s gonna go down in history. I think people are optimistic. They want to believe in the good. When he says stuff like ‘back to work,’ they think maybe it’s not gonna be as long.
“It’s crazy, I still don’t believe that I can’t win those fights. It’s nuts. People ask me, I’m like, ‘I can beat this dude.’ I’ll push myself to the limit to try to do it.”