Daniel Cormier was expected the make a title-defense against the rising powerhouse that is Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220, but now, following the arrest of his would-be-opponent on battery charges, it now looks as though his future is uncertain once again.
Volkan Oezdemir’s meteoric rise to the top-3 in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division was seemingly enough to put him on a direct collision course with the champion Daniel Cormier but following on from the news that ‘No Time’ has been arrested on battery charges in Florida, it now looks as though his title aspirations are in some serious doubt.
So with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at four fighters who could, in theory, stand as the next to face off against the champion Cormier.
This one here is the fight that probably makes the most sense. For one, DC shared the octagon with Gustafsson once before in what amounted to a very closely contested and entertaining encounter. ‘The Mauler’ overcame a mid-career slump to power his way to a highly-impressive fifth round KO win over Glover Teixeira in his home country of Sweden and given his highly-competitive showings against both the current champ Cormier and the former champ Jon Jones, booking this fight would perfect sense and would probably be the more warmly received out of the lot.
This pick could be a bit of an outside shot given the more enticing options that are available to the UFC brass right now but despite his loss to the former-champ Jon Jones at UFC 197 last year, there’s no denying the leaps and bounds OSP has made in the time since. A pair of rare von Flue choke and a stunning head-kick have definitely strengthed this unorthodox customer’s argument at 205, but again, given the gulf in class between the very top of the division and those below, he may well need one more impressive win to really get his name into the discussion.
Jimi Manuwa and Daniel Cormier actually have something of a fiery past, having engaged in some rather public Twitter warfare before, but when you consider that the British-born powerhouse’s last outing saw him lose by way of KO to Volkan Oezdemir in the very first minute of their showdown, it does kind of make for a hard sell. The danger that comes with Jimi’s ferocious power and the fact that he has wasted no time calling for the fight makes this a lot more realistic than one might assume.
This final name is a pretty long-shot, all things considered, but with the heavyweight champ Miocic currently sitting out – presumably in wait for the returning Cain Velasquez, it’s hard to imagine that the allure of a super-fight with the legendary Daniel Cormier wouldn’t be enough to drag him out of his self-imposed hiatus. Historically speaking, the light-heavyweight and heavyweight divisions have always been the most prestigious in this sport so for two of the most dominant champions in their respective weight-classes’ history to face off would be a monumental occasion that would be almost too good to pass up on.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena