Volkan Oezdemir will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon following his championship loss to Daniel Cormier when he takes on Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC Moncton on Saturday night.
Although the Swiss knockout artist knows he will have to build back to title contention, he does have some thoughts on Cormier being stripped of his title in order to facilitate a vacant title bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones, who received a reduced sentence of just 15 months for his latest failed drug test at UFC 232.
“No Time” revealed that he sympathizes with Cormier for being stripped of his title and insisted that he doesn’t “buy” the story behind Jones’ return.
“In a certain way I feel bad for ‘DC’ getting stripped because I think he was about to defend the belt before he retired. He has the belt at heavyweight too, so I feel bad for him,” Oezdemir told Peter Carroll on the latest episode of Eurobash.
“About the situation with [Jones’] cleared test…they cleared him from the sanction and they said whatever happened with the test…I guess if he’s cleared he gets a chance to get his own belt back. I can understand the decision [to let Jones fight for the title], but I don’t buy the story.
“We’ll see. I’m also happy he’s back because he can continue to fight and make a living out of it. It’s cool that he’s back and he’s able to fight, I’ll be waiting for him to get my fight [against him].”
Although Oezdemir highlighted that he is happy to see Jones back competing, he believes his career will constantly be called into question because of his failed drug tests.
“Yes, just because it keeps repeating itself, I think that’s the problem,” Oezdemir elaborated when asked what he didn’t buy about Jones’ return. “Otherwise, I guess these things happen. We see a lot of people passing drug tests without any issue and then other people keep having issues. Of course if it keeps happening, people are going to bring it up, and it’s going to stay on your resume.”
Oezdemir also underlined his doubts that Cormier will ever compete as a light heavyweight again.
“With him being stripped and him talking about retirement at age 40, that’s going to cause a problem,” Oezdemir stated when asked about the possibility of Cormier returning to light heavyweight before retirement.
“If he’s been stripped it makes it a little more difficult for him to get a good matchup if he doesn’t fight for the belt. Then he has to retire, so I think my rematch would be lost in all of the political decisions.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he added. “I’ve learned the best things I could from [fighting] the best No. 1 pound-for-pound champion at the moment. I’ve been training my ass off since that fight and I’ve put everything I’ve learned into practice.”
On the latest episode of Eurobash, MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll chats with Irish journalist Niall McGrath about the latest MMA news from Europe. The Volkan Oezdemir interview begins at 57:40.