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Volkan Oezdemir on Jon Jones’ UFC return: ‘I don’t buy the story’

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UFC Moncton headliner Volkan Oezdemir spoke about Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier’s potential returns to the UFC light heavyweight division.

This weekend, second-ranked UFC light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir (15-2) takes on the 10th ranked Anthony Smith at the main event of UFC Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada. A win over the rising ‘Lionheart’ Smith (30-13) could snatch a second crack at the UFC 205 lb title for ‘No Time’ Oezdemir.

Oezdemir recently took time out of his schedule to speak to Peter Carroll on MMA Fighting’s ‘Eurobash’ podcast. On that show the Swiss fighter shared his opinion on the other big UFC light heavyweight fight on the horizon: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson II, which will likely be for the UFC light heavyweight title.

Oezdemir spoke at length about Jones’ return to the Octagon, which comes after a deal was made with USADA. The deal reduced Jones’ suspension for a USADA drug test failure under the condition that he shares any information he has on other anti-doping policy violations (read more about Jones’ USADA situation here via Iain Kidd, Bloody Elbow).

Oezdemir revealed he was skeptical regarding Jones’ recent dealings with USADA.

“They cleared him from the sanction and they said, the test was whatever — I don’t even know what happened with the test. But I guess if he’s cleared he gets a chance to get his own belt back. So I can understand the decision ... but I don’t buy the story.”

Along with not ‘buying the story’ that surrounds Jones’ 30-month suspension reduction, Oezdemir expressed concerns over Jones’ repeated violations of USADA’s anti-doping policy.

“It keeps repeating itself,” said Oezdemir of Jones’ run-ins with controversy. “I think that’s the problem. Otherwise, I guess these things happen. We see a lot of people passing drug tests without any issue and then other people keep having issues. Of course if it keeps happening, people are going to bring it up, and it’s going to stay on your resume.”

Even though Oezdemir is skeptical about Jones’ recent USADA deal and repeat offenses, he said he is happy to see the former champion back in the UFC.

“It’s cool that he’s back and he’s able to fight, I’ll be waiting for him.”

On Eurobash, Oezdemir also discussed current UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who defeated him in his last fight back at UFC 220 in January. Cormier, who is focused on defending his heavyweight title versus Derrick Lewis at UFC 230, is likely to be stripped of his light heavyweight crown just before Jones and Gustafsson square off.

Oezdemir said he ‘feels bad’ for Cormier because he believed Cormier was hoping to defend the light heavyweight title before retiring. If Cormier is stripped of the belt, Oezdemir said he doesn’t believe Cormier will ever return to the division. Oezdemir reckoned this meant any kind of rematch between he and DC was ‘lost’ for good.

Though he probably won’t get another shot at Cormier, Oezdemir has a great shot at facing the winner of Jones vs. Gustafsson for some kind of title. However, Anthony Smith has exactly the same opportunity. You can see which man seizes that chance by tuning into UFC Fight Night: Oezdemir vs. Smith this Saturday night. The main card kicks off at 10PM ET, live from Atlantic Canada.