Volkan Oezdemir will challenge for a UFC title despite a looming felony charge.
The UFC announced officially Wednesday that Daniel Cormier will defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Oezdemir at UFC 220 on Jan. 20 in Boston. Cormier had said publicly that Oezdemir would be next, but it was unclear how Oezdemir’s issues with the law would factor into the potential fight.
Oezdemir (15-1) has won five straight, including his first three fights in the UFC this year. The Switzerland native has won his last two bouts in a combined 70 seconds. Oezdemir, 28, trains out of Combat Club in Lantana, Fla.
Oezdemir was arrested in Florida earlier this month for aggravated battery causing serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony charge. The light heavyweight fighter allegedly knocked a man unconscious with a punch in an altercation outside a bar in August. Oezdemir, who had to forfeit his passport to Broward County court, is facing up to five years in jail on the charge.
Oezdemir’s attorney Bruce Zimet said at the arraignment two weeks ago that Oezdemir was not the aggressor in the incident and justified in his actions.
Cormier (19-1, NC) initially lost the light heavyweight belt in a third-round TKO to Jon Jones at UFC 214 in July. But the bout was overturned to a no contest and Cormier was given the title back when Jones tested positive for a steroid in an in-competition drug test. Cormier, 38, won the title the first time in 2015 and has two successful title defenses. The only man he has lost to in MMA is Jones.
Cormier vs. Oezdemir is likely to be the UFC 220 main event, though that is not official yet.