Volkan Oezdemir plans to address a lingering injury after his win at UFC Uruguay.
After three straight losses, the light heavyweight contender returned to the winning column with a second-round knockout of Ilir Latifi on Saturday’s main card in Montevideo.
According to Oezdemir, he has been fighting for the past year and a half with an injured right hand. He said he injured it in a bar fight “back in the day” and has since suffered staph infection in his knuckle.
Oezdemir seemed to be referring to an August 2017 incident in which he allegedly struck and knocked a man unconscious outside a bar in Fort Lauderdale. He was charged with third-degree felony battery and arrested in November 2017, but the charges were dropped in July 2018.
Oezdemir noted that his right hand “has been bothering me a lot” since before his 205-pound title fight with Daniel Cormier, which took place in January 2018 — five months after the alleged incident occurred.
“My fist, I cannot close it really well,” Oezdemir told reporters after UFC Uruguay (via MMA Fighting). “It’s a real problem. I still have this bump here. It hurts me when I punch in training or when I fight all the time. I’m trying to see some specialists right now. ... I’m gonna check everything, maybe go to surgery quickly for the hand if I need to.”
Oezdemir said that during his training camp for the Cormier fight, which he lost via second-round TKO, he couldn’t use his right hand much. And in the actual fight, he said, he mostly threw only his left hand. He said he didn’t pull out of the fight because of how big an opportunity it was.
“[The staph] ate the joints a little bit,” he said. “I lost a lot of mobility into it. There’s a lot of scar tissue.”
Oezdemir said he wants to be smart about his recovery — and actually get surgery if necessary — because it’s too difficult to train and fight with the injury.
“I need to do the right move, because I want to grab the belt next,” Oezdemir said. ... “I cannot continue to train like that.”