UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier can breathe a sigh of relief after successfully retaining his 205-pound strap against Volkan Oezdemir last night (Sat. January 20, 2018) in the UFC 220 co-main.
Cormier has had a strenuous past six months after initially losing his light heavyweight title to longtime rival Jon Jones at UFC 214 last July. Shortly after the bout, it was announced that “Bones” violated the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) anti-doping policy and was subsequently stripped of the title, overturning his victory over Cormier a no contest and returning the belt to “DC.”
It wasn’t the first time Jones’ USADA troubles have impacted Cormier’s involvement in the title picture, as their UFC 200 fight in 2016 was called off due to a Jones drug test failure as well. Cormier went on to defeat Anderson Silva in a non-title bout at the event instead.
After being awarded back the title due to Jones’ failure, Cormier was then matched up with rising knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir in the UFC 220’s co-main event slot. The 38-year-old was able to get the Swiss slugger down to the canvas and impose his will, locking in a crucifix before delivering some nasty ground-and-pound that went unanswered for the TKO. Now that he has defended the UFC light heavyweight title against names such as Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, and now Oezdemir, it seems that the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product needs a new challenge.
Perhaps a return to his old weight class of heavyweight is in order?
Currently, the division is run by the most successful heavyweight champion of all time, Stipe Miocic, who pulled off a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 220 to defend the heavyweight crown for a record-breaking third straight time. Perviously, Cormier dropped down to 205 pounds from heavyweight due to the fact that his AKA teammate Cain Velasquez ran the division as champion. Cormier was reluctant to possibly fight his close friend and teammate for the heavyweight title, however, now that Velasquez is not on top of the mountain is it possible he may reconsider? UFC president Dana White sure hopes so.
Following UFC 220 White spoke to Megan Olivi to get his thoughts on the event, and stated that he’s a fan of the idea:
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 21, 2018
“He looked phenomenal,” White said. “He pressed the pace, he was getting in his face, hitting him with big shots early on, and literally just took the fight away from Volkan. He looked incredible, he’s one of the greatest to ever do it – and I was just talking to him and I don’t see why he couldn’t fight at heavyweight. And if he thinks that Cain might come back, then if he won the belt he could give it up. But either way it’s a good fight. With all the defenses he has – Stipe just broke the record for most defenses, so it’s a fun fight.”
Miocic has now nearly cleaned out the top contenders at heavyweight after having downed Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum. With a thin number of worthy title challengers at the moment, White claims there will always be someone ready to step up but acknowledges Miocic vs. Cormier would be a fun fight MMA fans would like to see:
“There’s always contenders for everybody,” White said. “But I think that’s a fight everybody would want to see.”