Cormier vs. Oezdemir was targeted for January’s UFC 220 in Boston, but Oezdemir’s Nov. 18 arrest threw a wrench into the promotion’s plans. The Swiss fighter was taken into custody for aggravated battery stemming from an alleged August bar incident. He has since been released on bond.
After the arrest, Oezdemir’s manager released a statement on the fighter’s behalf that said Oezdemir was involved in “nothing more than a bar room altercation in which Mr. Oezdemir, who was not the aggressor, was totally justified in all of his actions pursuant to Florida law.”
Because it appears Oezdemir, who allegedly knocked a man down with a punch, creating a laceration on the victim’s head, only acted in a manner of self-defense, Cormier expects Oezdemir to be allowed to compete at UFC 220 in two months.
“I believe the fight still happens, because from my understanding, he was defending himself,” Cormier said on his podcast, Talk and Talker. “And if these guys were doing anything, and it can be proven it was self-defense, you do have the right to defend yourself. So if he’s defending himself, the fight will still happen. Hopefully it happens as scheduled.”
“If it doesn’t, that’s a whole other can of worms. (But) I think he may be OK. If it was domestic, you’re f-cked. Anything domestic, it’s over. There’s no questions, there’s no no grey area. You f-cking hit a woman, you’re f-cking done. As it should be. So we’ll see.”
Cormier was reinstated as 205-pound titleholder in September after Jon Jones failed a drug test in relation to UFC 214, the July card on which Jones finished “DC” for the belt. Since regaining the championship, Cormier has had his eyes set on Oezdemir — something Oezdemir, who only made his Octagon debut this past February, very much appreciated.
After hearing the news of Oezdemir’s arrest, Cormier said he would be open to a bout against either former foe Alexander Gustafsson or Ovince Saint Preux as his next title defense if Oezdemir is unavailable.