If you ask most folks, they’ll likely tell you Alexander Gustafsson will challenge the winner of Daniel Cormier – Jon Jones II, but Volkan Oezdemir has outlined how he thinks he could lock up a title shot.
Since Gustafsson is coming off an impressive, stoppage win over Glover Teixeira, and because he’s ranked #2, the consensus is the Swedish star will challenge for the 205 belt next. Moreover, because Gustafsson has fought both Cormier and Jones, and lost tightly contested decisions, a lot of people want to see “The Mauler” fight one of those two again.
Well, Oezdemir is booked to fight fellow contender Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214, which will also feature Cormier – Jones II. Recently the surging fighter spoke to MMA Fighting, and he had this to say, about his own title shot prosopects:
“I was fighting the sixth-ranked fighter in the division. After that, I fought the biggest prospect in the division. People were talking about him like he was two fights away from the title. Now I’m fighting the second-ranked guy. (A win) would be a huge accomplishment.”
“It needs to be a nice knockout or some kind of huge stoppage, but I think that could potentially open up a title shot. Right now, Gustafsson probably has more credit after coming off such a good performance against Glover Teixeira.”
Now, considering Manuwa is currently ranked #3, and because Oezdemir is coming off a quick, KO win over Misha Cirkunov, a win on July 29th will certainly put him within reach of a title shot. But, even if Oezdemir bombs out Manua in spectacular fashion, it’s hard to imagine the UFC passing on either Cormier – Gustafssson II or Jones – Gustafsson II.
Could Oezdemir be tapped for a championship fight if Gustafsson gets injured? Of course. But odds are he’ll need to take on another top tier fighter, before he gets his shot at the gold.
First things first, however, and that’s getting through the ridiculously dangerous Manuwa.