Alexander Gustafsson will wait for Daniel Cormier-Volkan Oezdemir winner, picks 'DC' to retain

Two-time UFC light heavyweight challenger Alexander Gustafsson will wait his turn for another shot at the belt.

“Daniel (Cormier) knows I’m here to stay, that I’m waiting for my rematch against him,” Gustafsson told Viaplay Fighting in a post on his official Facebook page. “I’m not in a hurry. I’ve had longer stretches between fights than this. I’ll be fine.”

Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) said he’ll be ready to face the winner of a likely fight between Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) and Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), which could take place in early 2018 with the champ taking time to recuperate from a busy 2017.

Although Gustafsson might not be in a rush, his desire to win UFC gold hasn’t waned.

“I want the belt,” he said. “I want a title fight. We’ll see if Volkan vs. Cormier gets confirmed. Then I’ll fight the winner and … I’m pretty sure I’ll fight ‘DC.’”

“The Mauler” pushed Cormier to the limit when they met two years ago at UFC 192, which marked Cormier’s first title defense after seizing the belt left vacant by Jon Jones’ out-of-cage troubles.

With Cormier the champ once again following Jones’ failed drug test, Gustafsson’s path to the title is clear. The Swedish star has been on a tear since his loss to Cormier, defeating Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.

Gustafsson compared Oezdemir to Anthony Johnson, who lost a pair of bouts to Cormier.

“Volkan does have a puncher’s chance,” Gustafsson said. “He’s not someone you want to underestimate. He’s a power puncher. But ‘DC’ is the better fighter.

“(Cormier) can take a punch. He has the cardio. He is a better mixed martial artist than Volkan. So I see ‘DC’ winning the fight.”

Of course, as Gustafsson well knows, heavy-handed fighters can catch you. Johnson did just that when they met two years ago, bringing “Rumble” another title shot that ended in a bizarre fight and his retirement from MMA.

The difference between Gustafsson and Cormier, however, is their wrestling pedigrees. Cormier is a world-class grappler with the ability to take anyone down.

“He’s going to put him on his ass,” Gustafsson said of the champ. “He’ll take him down and dominate on the ground. Volkan is sort of like Anthony Johnson – a power puncher. We haven’t seen much of his ground game. And I think ‘DC’ will take him down.”

But if Oezdemir pulls off the upset, Gustafsson will happily take the fight. Then he would not only get the chance to win the title, but get some payback for his teammate Jimi Manuwa, who Oezdemir knocked out in his most recent fight.

“Styles make fights,” Gustafsson said of the potential matchup. “I want to beat ‘DC.’ I want to avenge my loss. Because of that, I want ‘DC’ to win. But if Volkan were to win, that’s fine with me. Then I’ll avenge Jimi.”

Whatever ends up happening, Gustafsson figures he’s got time to let it play out.

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier now targets 2018 for title defense against Volkan Oezdemir

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier expects to defend his title in early 2018, facing upstart Volkan Oezdemir in his first challenge since being re-crowned as the titleholder.

“I’m going to fight Volkan,” Cormier told MMAjunkie Radio during a recent in-studio appearance. “I went to the doctor, and he advised me to take the rest of the year off because I started to contemplate fighting at the end of the December.

“(I’ll fight him) beginning of next year sometime.”

Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) held an informal social media poll to determine the opponent fans wanted him to fight, and Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who’s stormed into the UFC with three straight wins and two high-profile knockouts, came out ahead.

A recent report claimed the matchup was on target for UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But Cormier is pumping the brakes to allow himself more time to recover from the past 12 months of his career.

The matchup will Cormier back in the cage after a tumultous summer that saw him lose the belt to Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) via knockout, only to get it back after Jones failed a drug test for a steroid.

Jones’ case with the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, is currently in process, with the fighter’s team trying to uncover the source of the positive. The process could take several months, and both sides are expected to move to arbitration. Jones also is appealing a fine and suspension handed down by the California State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC 214.

Cormier struggled with his next move when the news of Jones’ drug failure went public. Initially, he expected a rematch as the embattled champ waited for the results of a confirmation test. After the initial findings were validated, however, he shifted gears and started to look toward the future.

A second loss to Jones left Cormier an emotional wreck in the weeks following UFC 214. But the positive test and subsequent overturning of his loss also made him question whether his reaction was justified, and it left him uncertain about how he felt about Jones, who took a gentlemanly turn after their rematch.

“Obviously, we should let due process play itself out and everything,” he said. “I worry about the human factor, because he is a father, too, and has a family. But there’s a part of me that’s still pissed off. Obviously, how do you not be pissed off when something like that happens and you feel like, ‘Man, did I really get a fair shake?’”

At the same time, Cormier can’t deny what happened in July when they met at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

“He won the fight,” Cormier said. “That’s me, the competitor. Fighters come up to me and say, ‘No, you didn’t (lose the belt).’ (UFC lightweight) Beneil Dariush was like, mad. He was like, ‘I’m so mad that you had to accept the belt back. That’s stupid. You never lost it if you didn’t get a fair shake.’ He’s like, ‘Why are you down on yourself?’ But everybody doesn’t look at competition like I do.

“For me, I lost the fight. I was there. July 29, he beat me. They can say whatever they want to say, but I lost. That’s just who I am.”

In the wake of Jones’ positive test, his second for a banned performance-enhancer and third for a banned substance, Cormier consulted experts who told him about the drug for which Jones was flagged. The information only left him more confused as to why a fighter with Jones’ gifts would take it – and upset they might have widened a gap between their competitive abilities.

“Talking to some of these guys, these things are so fast-acting, some of these drugs,” he said. “If that’s the case, it allows you to train longer and train harder. It sucks.

“Because at 38, I work hard. I do a lot. And it would feel good to wake up and not feel like death. Come Wednesday, I didn’t know you could be this sore. My ass is sore. When do you get sore in the butt cheek? It happens. If you feel like you have to do something like that, it’s unfortunate, because I don’t believe he needed to. I think he’s that good. But how do you say that?”

“I can’t jump off the side of the octagon like Anthony Pettis,” he later added. “I can’t do any of that stuff. I can try to take you down, and I can stand and strike with you, and I can grapple with you. I can’t do spinning back kicks and jump elbows. So to feel that you have to do something extra to beat me with what I bring to the table kind of sucks.”

Cormier also cites a number of stories released in the wake of his first fight with Jones at UFC 182 that question whether “Bones” may have doped given his abnormally low testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, despite the fact he wasn’t flagged for an anti-doping violation.

“The T/E ratio was so jacked, it probably would have been flagged,” Cormier said. “That’s messed up. That’s something that really bugs me.”

But in the end, Cormier is resolved to move forward with his career and put the past behind him. He appreciates the fact Jones tried to turn over a new leaf in their relationship, which is why he can’t bring himself to completely condemn the now ex-champ. He is just saddened by the circumstances surrounding their second fight, and ready to turn over a new page of his own against Oezdemir.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier names Volkan Oezdemir as next title challenger

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So much for due process.

Newly re-crowned light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) is moving on from Jon Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) and lining up his next fight. Apparently, he’s cutting out the UFC’s matchmaking middlemen too.

Cormier announced today that he’s conducted a poll, and the surging Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is the opponent fans want to see (via Twitter):

In theory, Cormier’s schedule would be held up by the resolution of his saga with Jones. The now-former champ has yet to resolve his case with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, and the California State Athletic Commission, which overturned his knockout win over Cormier at UFC 214 when a failed steroid test was confirmed.

Cormier urged fans to give Jones due process, and even told them to let up after his “B” sample delivered bad news. But with the ex-champ facing a potential four-year ban, he’s shifting focus to his second reign as champion.

That’s where Oezdemir, who’s No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, comes in. The Swiss striking phenom has burst onto the scene at 205 pounds, knocking out top contenders Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa to get into the title mix. After knocking out Manuwa at UFC 214, he called for a title shot.

Before Jones, who’s still ranked No. 1, popped positive, Oezdemir called out two-time title challenger and No. 5-ranked Alexander Gustafsson to “increase the value of the next title shot” and decide the “real king of Europe.” After a knockout of onetime title challenger Glover Teixeira in May, Gustafsson was the most credible threat to Oezdemir’s No. 1 contender’s spot.

Now, it’s a whole new world. But here’s the thing about those UFC middlemen: They have to send the bout contracts that make your poll official. We’ll see if No. 2-ranked Cormier gets one.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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The MMA Road Show with John Morgan No. 123 – Mexico City: Volkan Oezdemir, Rodrigo Del Campo

mma-road-show-podcast

Episode No. 123 of “The MMA Road Show with John Morgan” podcast is now available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan hosts the show while traveling the world to cover the sport.

John Morgan is rolling solo in Mexico City for UFC Fight Night 114, so he brings in Indiscutido.com editor-in-chief Rodrigo Del Campo to help break down the card and talk about the state of the UFC in Mexico and Latin America. Additionally, Morgan shares an interview he did earlier in the week with UFC light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir, who scored a big win at this past week’s UFC 214 event.

You can check it out on iTunes or at themmaroadshow.com. You can also subscribe via RSS.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Volkan Oezdemir calls out Alexander Gustafsson to determine 'real king of Europe'

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC

Volkan Oezdemir knows he’s probably not going to get the next crack at new UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. So, instead, he’s going after the next best thing.

Following his 42-second knockout of Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214 this past Saturday, Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has called out former two-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) for a fight to “increase the value of the next title shot.”

The Swiss fighter said he not only views a matchup with Gustafsson as a No. 1 contender bout to get to Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC), but also thinks a showdown with the Swede would determine “the real king of Europe” (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Let’s increase the value of the next title shot! @alexthemauler and I need to figure out who is the real king of Europe! Alex, I know how great you are and I respect you a lot but I’m going to knock you out! Not because I want to just because I have to!
#jonesvsthekingofeurope #notime #newblood #iamdifferent”

Oezdemir, No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, has exploded onto the scene as a new face in the weight class over the past six months. He won his short-notice debut against Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 104 in February. He followed that up with a 28-second starching of Misha Cirkunov at UFC Fight Night 109 in May, before stunning Manuwa in less than a minute at UFC 214.

No. 5 Gustafsson, meanwhile, is coming off consecutive victories over Glover Teixeira and Jan Blachowicz, which helped him rebound from a title-fight loss to then-champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 192 in October 2015. “The Mauler” is looking for a title shot of his own, and after putting on the 2013 “Fight of the Year” with Jones at UFC 165, appears to be looking for a rematch, not an encounter with Oezdemir (via Twitter):

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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UFC 214's Volkan Oezdemir understands UFC might make Jones-Gustafsson 2, but wants title shot

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Upset-maker Volkan Oezdemir wants to climb the UFC light-heavyweight ranks faster than anyone else, which is fitting considering his nickname – “No Time.”

The way things are looking, Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) might have a shot. A 42-second knockout of Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 214 pay-per-view main-card opener marked his third UFC win and second straight upset of a high-ranked opponent.

The only roadblock now is Jon Jones’ unfinished business.

“I think I proved that (I’m a top contender) because (Manuwa) was supposed to be fighting for the belt,” Oezdemir said after his bonus-winning knockout at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. “So my goal is to go for the belt right away and be the fastest rising guy for the belt.

“I understand, for sure, (if they give it to Alexander Gustafsson), because there is a beef with Jon Jones and Cormier, because both have tough five-round fights with Gustafsson, and I think the fans want to see (those) fights – the revenge. It’s a lot about what the people want to see, too. You’ve got to be able to make exciting matches. But I think I’m going to be able to make an exciting fight because I know I’m going to knock both of them out.”

Oezdemir didn’t know then that Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) would end up knocked out when Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) stopped him in the third round of Saturday’s main event with a head kick.

UFC President Dana White didn’t firmly commit to the promotion’s next move in the 205-pound class, which is once again topped by Jones after Cormier’s two-year reign. Brock Lesnar has even entered the mix.

But Oezdemir said he doesn’t want to wait around for Jones to determine his schedule.

“If I have to wait, I’ll wait, but I want to be active, too,” he said. “So I’m going to have to think about it.”

Oezdemir can count on one thing: a big jump in the top-15 list. He is now the No. 8 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, one below Manuwa. Count on a flip-flop.

The 27-year-old Oezdemir’s opportunities could lag behind his number. The good news? He’s still got time.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Volkan Oezdemir has a new nickname, with a new hand gesture, and it's actually kind of great

Volkan Oezdemir has a new nickname. If you watched his first-round knockout of Jimi Manuwa on Saturday at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., you might have noticed.

After back-to-back wins in the first minute of the first round, Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) seems to have fully embraced the nickname “No Time.” You can tell by how he gestured to his wrist, at the precise spot where a watch might usually go, in order to drive home the point after dispatching Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC).

Of course, he didn’t just do the gesture once and trust us to know what he meant. No, this was apparently the kind of thing you have to do over …

… and over …

… and over.

The nickname could potentially be a little confusing. Is he saying he has no time for long fights, so that’s why he knocks people out right at the start? Is he saying he finishes fights in no time? Is his car parked outside and there’s no time left on the meter, so he has to end this quickly and get outside to pump some quarters in there? Is the “no time” meant to refer to his career goals? As in, he recognizes the brief window of opportunity for professional athletes, and perhaps even the fleeting nature of life itself, and therefore he knows there’s no time to waste?

Maybe it’s all of those. And, honestly, what makes it really work as a nickname is the hand gesture. When he points to the place where most people wear their watches, you see that he is of course not wearing one. He literally has no time.

“That’s my new nickname,” Oezdemir said in his post-fight interview, as if we didn’t already get the point. “I’ve got no time. So I want the winner of tonight’s bout, for sure.”

Ambitious? Yes. But something tells us that if you asked UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to face Oezdemir instead of a guaranteed cash cow like Brock Lesnar next, Jones will suddenly decide he has no time for that conversation.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 214 bonuses: Jon Jones, Volkan Oezdemir earn $50K for knockout wins

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – New UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Volkan Oezdemir, Brian Ortega, and Renato Moicano each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday’s UFC 214 event.

Ortega vs. Moicano earned the “Fight of the Night,” while Jones (for his knockout of Daniel Cormier) and Oezdemir (for his knockout of Jimi Manuwa) each won “Performance of the Night” honors.

UFC officials announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

UFC 214 took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 214 results: Volkan Oezdemir knocks out Jimi Manuwa to state case as title contender

Volkan Oezdemir has once again cut the line of UFC light heavyweight contenders.

Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) stunned Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in the clinch before knocking him to the mat with a left hand just 42 seconds into the opening round.

The light heavyweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC 214 event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

“I don’t know what’s happening with my hands, but that’s dynamite,” Oezdemir said after flattening Manuwa, who was booked for tonight’s event as a backup opponent in case headliners Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier fell out.

Manuwa was in line for a title shot and had verbally sparred with Cormier after two straight knockout wins. But Oezdemir shut him down early and put himself in line for a shot at the title.

The end came after Manuwa initiated the clinch and walked Oezdemir to the cage, perhaps hoping to exhaust his opponents’ arms as they wrestled for position. But Manuwa neglected to cover his head in close, and Oezdemir snuck in a left hook that took his legs.

As Manuwa stumbled back, hoping to regain his wits, Oezdemir connected with a left hook that sent him down, his head bouncing violently off the canvas.

Oezdemir, who stopped rising star Misha Cirkunov in 28 seconds in his previous bout, now has won three straight in the UFC and five in his current streak overall. He called for the winner of the Jones vs. Cormier rematch.

“I think my entry to the UFC is kind of unique,” Oezdemir said. “Before this fight no one knew me; I came from nowhere. People were always doubting me, and each fight I prove them wrong – I really like it. It drives me and gives me a challenge when I’m able to do this.

“Manuwa was supposed to be fighting the winner of the main event and this fight, and I think I deserve the shot next. I put on a really good performance, and that’s three in a row against top-10 guys, so yeah, I think I deserve the shot.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC 214 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Dann Stupp, John Morgan, Ben Fowlkes, Mike Bohn and Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Anaheim.)

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to Volkan Oezdemir's 42-second KO of Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214

Volkan Oezdemir’s remarkable UFC start continued on Saturday when he picked up yet another upset win, this time against Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214.

Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has steamrolled the competition since his February debut. That happened again when he beat Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) by 22-second knockout in the light heavyweight bout, which opened the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Oezdemir’s victory over Manuwa at UFC 214.

* * * *

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie