Volkan Oezdemir won his last two fights by knockout in a combined 70 seconds against two of the top light heavyweights in the world. He has gone on record multiple times that the same fate will befall Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 on Jan. 20, en route to a UFC light heavyweight championship reign.
Oezdemir said that again Friday at a UFC 220 press conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cormier was having none of the quick KO talk, though.
“I think it’s crazy,” Cormier said of the prediction. “But I think it’s like the only way that he can win. So like, what else? If it doesn’t happen? So many guys go into the fight with the idea that they’re just gonna get me out of there. I’m smaller than everybody. I’m not the bodybuilding guy. I don’t look like those guys. So they think they’re gonna get ol’ DC out of there. But what happens after five minutes when I’m still pressing you? And I’m throwing you down and I’m pushing your head down and making you gasp for air and I take you down and cover your face, so you can’t breathe. What happens then?
“You know what happens then is they turn over, they present their neck and they tap out. And that’s about to happen to Volkan Oezdemir.”
Oezdemir, from across the dais, then interrupted Cormier. He said that’s not how it’s all going to do down in Boston.
“Hey, I got heart, man,” Oezdemir said. “It’s not gonna be easy, man.”
Oezdemir (15-1) had a whirlwind 2017, beating three UFC contenders en route to this title shot. He knocked out Misha Cirkunov in 28 seconds at UFC Stockholm in May. He followed that up by starching Jimi Manuwa in 42 seconds at UFC 214 in July. Oezdemir’s confidence is unbridled right now.
“You saw my fight,” he told Cormier. “You saw everything I did. I don’t think you’ve seen everything I’m capable of. All my fights were so fast and you’re not gonna be different.”
Cormier (19-1, 1 NC) has lost to just one man his entire career: Jon Jones. Despite those impressive knockouts on Oezdemir’s résumé, the American Kickboxing Academy captain doesn’t envision the Switzerland native being the second man to defeat him. Cormier said he will “smash” Oezdemir at UFC 220.
“He’s a tough guy, but they’re all tough, right?” Cormier said. “You don’t expect to fight anybody easy, but I mean, I’ve fought kickboxers before. I’ve fought wrestlers, I’ve fought guys with big power. I’ve fought fast guys, big guys. It doesn’t matter. I’ll fight the same way. There’s no secret to how I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna go forward, i’m gonna press him and I’m just gonna make him work for 25 minutes.
“If Volkan Oezdemir can do that and beat me, then hats off to him. But I don’t believe that he has it in him to do that. Those guys just don’t work as hard as I do. At 38 years old, I’m outworking these 25-year-old dudes, 26-year-old dudes, because that’s all I know since I was a kid.”