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Midnight Mania! Daniel Cormier targets UFC return against Volkan Oezdemir in early 2018

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UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2 not pictured during the UFC 214 event at Honda Center on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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There is a lot of talk floating around about what champions are doing next. UFC 217 is set to resolve the status of three belts ... sort of ... with Michael Bisping getting his money fight with George St. Pierre out of the way so Robert Whittaker knows who he will fight to make his interim belt legitimate. Tony Ferguson is demanding Conor McGregor unify the lightweight title... but Nate Diaz will probably get a third fight instead. Demetrious Johnson just broke Anderson Silva’s title defense record, keeping flyweight under control. The greatest force for divisional stability on the UFC roster, he isn’t all too interested in muddying the waters at 135 unless the UFC coughs up some extra cash. Just today, Tyron Woodley had to shut down talk of yet another interim title.

That only leaves a few divisions unaccounted for. One of them is Daniel Cormier’s, light heavyweight, which has once more become his kingdom to rule, with Jon Jones again banished to the wasteland for an as yet indeterminate amount of time.

Cormier was initially targeting UFC 219 in December, which has yet to receive a headliner. On the advice of his doctor, however, he has decided early 2018 is a better date, and he’s sticking with his informal Twitter poll results (he didn’t even use the built-in poll function) to select Volkan Oezdemir for his opponent. Via

“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 is still very interested in fighting a clean Jon Jones, so he’s waiting on the results of the arbitration process. He has mixed emotions about their second fight, which saw Jones knock him out in the third round. In his mind, Jones won, despite the result being turned over officially to a no-contest.

“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?

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.”

He also questions why Jones would feel the need to take steroids, if Jones legitimately considers himself better than a 38-year-old Cormier. “DC” deals with the pain of his body getting older on a weekly basis.

“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.”

For the moment, Cormier is willing to once again move forward with his career and focus on the fighter in front of him. Right now, that fighter looks like it will be Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.


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