The UFC’s light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has responded to the news that his supposed opponent for UFC 220, Volkan Oezdemir, has been arrested by opening himself up to a rematch with one of his most skilled past-opponents to date.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year or so for Daniel Cormier and despite the fact that the highs and lows he experienced during his turbulent saga with Jon Jones were clearly wearing on him, another spanner was thrown into the works of his insane title reign when it emerged that Volkan Oezdemir – the man who many assumed he would take on next at UFC 220 – was arrested in Florida on charges of battery.
One would have to imagine that the fast-rising 205lber’s title aspirations could take a hit because of this incident in his personal life but the champ DC, with no real certainty about his future, spoke on the Anik & Florian podcast and professed his desire to simply defend his belt, be it against Oezdemir, Jimi Manuwa (who recently made a very public offer to replace ‘No Time‘) or even against the man who – apart from Jon Jones – gave him perhaps the toughest test of his career to date.
When Cormier won the belt after the former champion Jones was stripped, he did so by defeating Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192. Their clash, which saw both men have their shining moments, was easily one of the best fights of 2015 and showcased a real evolution in the game of DC, and evolution that saw him having greater success with the lengthy frame of Jon Jones in their UFC 214 rematch.
Gustafsson overcame something of a mid-career slump in recent times to achieve back-to-back wins over both Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira, and with Jones out of the picture, he stands as the number one contender in the division. Cormier, in his always-game spirit, spoke to Kenny Florian and Jon Anik about his situation and how he would welcome any challenge that would present itself.
“Of course, I’d fight any of these guys. It doesn’t matter. 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.’ 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.”
‘The Mauler’ really does appear to be hitting a peak skills-wise and his last outing and the fifth-round finish of the aforementioned Teixeira that came with it stood as a real turning point in the career of the guy who has consistently been pegged as a future champion in the eyes of most.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena