Daniel Cormier confirms Volkan Oezdemir is next but still hopes to face Jon Jones again
Daniel Cormier is nearly ready to return to the Octagon.
The UFC light heavyweight champion confirmed during a media lunch on Friday that he would be facing fast rising contender Volkan Oezdemir in his next title defense.
Cormier had pegged Oezdemir as his choice as the next person to get a shot at the belt and it appears the UFC is on board with the matchup. Now it’s just a matter of time until a deal gets done for the fight to become official.
“He is the fight,” Cormier stated (h/t MMAFighting). “He’s won three fights in a row. I fought [Alexander] Gustafsson before. It was a great fight. Something new, something different. That’s pretty much when it boiled down to.”
Of course, Cormier is returning to action after suffering a brutal TKO in his last fight against Jon Jones. That result was later overturned to a no contest after Jones tested positive for steroids and the light heavyweight title was then returned to Cormier as well.
Once Cormier had the belt back, it seemed like only a matter of time before he faced either Oezdemir or Alexander Gustafsson for his next fight. Cormier had already defeated Gustafsson in a back and forth war in 2015 and it looks like the champion was just ready to face a new opponent rather than running back a rematch.
Oezdemir has certainly done his part to land in title contention with three straight wins in the UFC including a pair of first round knockouts against Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov in consecutive fights.
As for Cormier’s future, he’s focused on defending his title against Oezdemir next but he’s still not giving up hope on another bout against Jones.
Jones is currently suspended while awaiting a hearing with both the California State Athletic Commission and USADA to determine what potential punishment he may face for the positive drug test. Because Jones was already previously suspended for another UFC anti-doping policy infraction in 2016, he could face up to a four year sanction for a second offense.
Still, Cormier will be ready just in case Jones gets a lesser sentence and can return to action in the near future.
“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 just like to fight him. I feel like I get better every time I prepare to fight him.”