Oezdemir Issues May Affect Cormier
Earlier this week, Volkan Oezdemir was arrested on assault charges stemming from a bar fight in August, where Oezdemir allegedly hit an individual who then required staples for lacerations and treatment for concussion symptoms.
These charges come at a terrible time for Oezdemir as he seemed to be the next in line to face light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 220.
Speaking recently on The Anik & Florian Podcast, Cormier said that if Oezdemir’s recent legal struggles are going to get in the way, he will gladly fight Alexander Gustafsson or Ovince Saint Preux next.
“Of course, I’d fight any of these guys. It doesn’t matter. This guy’s on the longest win streak in the division so he was getting the title shot but if this trouble is gonna keep him out of the opportunity, I’ll just go to the next guy. So of course I’d fight Gustafsson and someone told me yesterday that Team Ovince Saint Preux was like, ‘We want a title fight because we’ve got a good winning streak too.’ Whoever is winning gets the title shot, that’s just the way it is. I don’t care who it is.”
Following the return of the light heavyweight title following Jon Jones failed drug test, Cormier has called out Oezdemir as the next challenger for his title. In his challenges Cormier said Oezdemir was “something new, something different” as opposed to a rematch with Gustafsson. Ironically, Oezdemir’s legal troubles now appear to be more of the same for Cormier, who has been more affected by the extracurricular struggles of Jones than anyone else. For Cormier, it’s just another instance of a fighter putting himself in a bad situation.
“It’s tough to be going through this type of thing, especially at this time when you’re on the cusp of your biggest moment of your career. I don’t know what happened. You’ve got to not be doing things that are wrong or put yourself in these situations where stuff can go sideways. You’ve got to try to stay out of those positions. . .”
“Maybe it was self-defense but because he is who is is, it’s much worse because he has the ability to sleep dudes that are trying to hit him. You never know what’s happening but even these run-ins, they’re really unneeded, especially when you’re a young guy as Volkan is and you’re on the cusp of something so big for the first time in your career.”
It’s unclear what will happen next but with Oezdemir potentially facing facing jail time, it seems unlikely that the UFC would follow through on a January title fight, which leaves Gustafsson as the front-runner for the next title shot which would be a bit of a letdown for Cormier who was hoping to compete at UFC 220 in Boston.
“I’ve been waiting for the final go ahead. Obviously this throws a wrench into those plans, when we see what happens to Oezdemir. It’s kind of all fluid right now because we’ve got to see what happens with this guy. Alexander Gustafsson was never gonna be right now anyway, I think he may be dealing with some things. If it has to be him then I guess the fight will be a little bit later in the year, but I’d love to compete in Boston.”