Over the last year, Volkan Oezdemir has quickly established himself as a legitimate contender in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
In his promotional debut this past February, “No Time” scored a split-decision victory over longtime contender Ovince Saint Preux. He’s since followed that up with back-to-back highlight reel knockouts over Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa. Both of those stoppages came in less than a minute.
After dispatching Manuwa at UFC 214 this past July, it was clear that Oezdemir had earned himself a big fight, but in the scarce 205-pound weight class, it was unclear who he would fight next.
Jon Jones also returned to action at UFC 214, winning the title back from Daniel Cormier, which subsequently set up a rematch between him and No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson. The only problem, however, is that Jones was once again flagged by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) for a potential anti-doping violation.
With Jones’ future up in the air, perhaps a bout between Gustafsson and Oezdemir would make sense. “No Time”, however, doesn’t think a bout between him and the Swede would end very well for “The Mauler”:
“It’s a smart choice for him not fight me,” he told MMAFighting.com. “He’s right there for the belt too. His next fight was supposed to be for the belt, so because of that, fighting would me would be completely stupid. He will lose his spot if he fights me, he will go down and lose one year of his life. And I understand he wants to be smart. He’s coming back from an injury and now he thinks it’s his time to fight for the belt. He doesn’t want to lose it.”
Oezdemir also expressed interest in a fight with Cormier, although he thinks a bout between him and Gustafsson makes the most sense to take place next:
“I think a fight with ‘DC’ or a fight with Gustafsson are most likely next, but I think the best option for me is to fight Gustafsson,” he said.
“The situation isn’t very clear with the belt, so in the mean time I would like to fight Gustafsson for the number one contender spot. Maybe after that I can fight ‘DC’ for the belt. I think because he was the champion and with what has happened to Jones, he deserves to fight for the belt.”
What do you make of “No Time’s” comments?