Despite upcoming criminal proceedings, Volkan Oezdemir will challenge for Daniel Cormier’s light heavyweight title at UFC 220 on January 20th next.
The Swiss fighter, who is undefeated through three UFC bouts thus far, had been considered the presumptive challenger for Cormier’s title after a swift KO victory against fellow contender Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214 in July — particularly given the absences of Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson for myriad contrasting reasons.
However, a recent aggravated battery charge which stems from a bar fight in Florida last August had threatened to derail proceedings somewhat. Oezdemir’s legal counsel have said that they expect their client to be absolved of all charges once the facts of the incident come to light, an opinion apparently shared by the UFC who confirmed his title shot opposite Cormier overnight.
— UFC (@ufc) November 29, 2017
In September, Daniel Cormier asked fans to let him know on social media who they would like to see him face next and Oezdemir was the clear winner. ‘No Time’ had made quite the impression in his initial three UFC bouts. His first was a short notice contest against Ovince St. Preux which he won via split decision but his second, a pair of swift knockouts against Misha Cirkunov and Manuwa, signposted the Swiss as one of the 205-pound division’s most powerful strikers.
@volkan_oezdemir I asked and people wanna see u and I scrap. So you got it man! Let me figure a date now. They chose u bud! Congrats
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) September 28, 2017
The scheduled bout with Cormier is easily the biggest of Oezdemir’s career but, as he said to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour in October, he doesn’t expect the upgrade in competition to alter the way he fights — or the results.
“I think in the first two minutes, that’s my goal anyway. I’m going to make all of my training so I will be able to knock him out. I have no time for this. I don’t want to get injured, I’m just going to knock him out really fast,” he said.
Which, let’s be honest, is almost double the duration of his last two bouts combined.