Now that former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is out of the picture once again, current 205-pound king Daniel Cormier is left to run the show. After all, Jones is only man to defeat “DC” in his entire career.
Since taking back his throne, Cormier has wasted little time in calling the shots. Just last month, the 38-year-old proclaimed rising knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir the next No. 1 contender after creating a fan voting poll on Twitter.
If UFC agrees with Cormier that Oezdemir is the next man in line to challenge for the light heavyweight crown, former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson will have to sit on the sidelines for the time being. According to “The Mauler” himself, waiting for the winner of Cormier vs. Oezdemir wouldn’t be that bad of an idea.
“Daniel (Cormier) knows I’m here to stay, that I’m waiting for my rematch against him,” Gustafsson said 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, 30, is coming off an impressive knockout finish over former title challenger Glover Teixeira back in May. The towering Swedish striker nearly beat Jones in a Fight of the Year back in 2013 and took Cormier to a split decision two years ago. If anyone is capable of stepping back into the limelight and testing Cormier’s resolve when Jones is sidelined it’s Gustafsson.
“I want the belt,” Gustafsson 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.'”
While Gustafsson may be predicting a win for Cormier, he does understand the dangers in facing a fellow striker like Oezdemir. After all, “No Time” has recorded back-to-back knockouts over Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov in a matter of just 70 seconds.
“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.”
With limited options at 205 pounds, UFC should be more than willing to keep Gustafsson on ice until the title is ready to be defended. If Oezdemir gets the first crack then so be it, but “The Mauler” must be the next name on the list assuming Jones doesn’t avoid his looming punishment.