UFC Moncton: Volkan Oezdemir’s Crazy Ride Hits its Next Stop

Volkan Oezdemir UFC Moncton
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

It’s been an interesting couple of years for UFC Moncton headliner Volkan Oezdemir. The former light heavyweight title challenger has had his ups and downs since joining the promotion, to say the least. The Swiss 29-year-old returns to the Octagon for the first time in nine months against Anthony Smith on October 27.

Since joining MMA’s premier promotion in early-2017, under some unique circumstances, light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir has been in the news for a variety of reasons. Between quick KOs and title-fights, as well as legal troubles and injuries, Oezdemir has faced the gamut of professional fighter experiences in his UFC career.

He fought veteran Ovince Saint Preux on short-notice in his promotional debut. Slated to fight for the Titan FC heavyweight title a week before UFC Houston in February, Oezdemir instead filled-in for the injured Jan Blachowicz in a matchup against a top-10 ranked opponent. The fight wasn’t a classic. But with the use of a solid first-round, Oezdemir earned the upset win, kicking-off a quick rise to UFC title contention.

The win gave Oezdemir another tough test in his next bout, giving him a chance to prove his legitimacy in a division ready for fresh faces in the title race. After a full camp and some time off ahead of UFC Stockholm in May, Oezdemir knocked out Misha Cirkunov in 28 seconds. It wasn’t a fluke, as he’d impress again just two months later at UFC 214, KOing Jimi Manuwa in 42 seconds.

Dubbed “No Time” thanks to his quick finishes, Oezdemir secured a title shot after having one of the best 2017s of any fighter in the promotion.

The title bout with Daniel Cormier, the co-main event of UFC 220 in January, didn’t go as Oezdemir had hoped. Despite the result, going from his promotional debut to fighting in the main event of a pay-per-view in less than a year is no small task. There’s also no shame in losing to DC. The current two-division champion has dealt each of his opponents, sans Jon Jones, a loss in his 23-fight professional MMA career.

Volkan Oezdemir UFC
Volkan Oezdemir. Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

But, it was an incident that happened before his title shot that really began roller coaster ride for “No Time”. Felony charges were filed in November of 2017 against Oezdemir in the state of Florida (surprise), following a bar fight that took place in mid-August. The charges momentarily put his title shot in jeopardy, risking his quick rise to UFC title contention.

Oezdemir would still get his title-shot a couple months after getting charged, and the charges would eventually be dropped in July. But, those charges would still manage to cause Oezdemir some problems. After losing to Cormier, Oezdemir was slated to fight Shogun Rua at UFC Chile in April. Due to visa issues surrounding the felony charges, Oezdemir was pulled from the card.

While the charges were dropped in July, the light heavyweight contender would again be faced with some adversity. Scheduled to fight fellow top-ranked 205er Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227 in early-August, Oezdemir was pulled from his second straight bout. This time, though, it was due to an injury. Gustafsson would also eventually be pulled from the card, and is now scheduled to fight Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 232 in December.

After all of the drama, both in and out of the Octagon, Oezdemir is (finally) ready for action. Headlining UFC Moncton against Anthony Smith, a guy who’s won back-to-back bouts and five of his last six fights, Oezdemir continues his run of high-quality opponents.

Given the title-picture at light heavyweight, with the return of Jon Jones and apparent exit of Daniel Cormier, anything is possible for a ranked fighter with a few consecutive wins under their belt. Oezdemir knows that as well as anyone. While Anthony Smith’s 2018 is going much better than Oezdemir’s thus far, both fighters know that a win in Moncton gives them as good an argument for a title shot in 2019 as anyone at light heavyweight.

At the top of his game, Swiss 205er Volkan Oezdemir is among the most exciting fighters in the UFC. His boxing skill and immense power are perfect for light heavyweight, and his predilection for quick finishes and consistent striking make for a fun fight more often than not. It’s a tough balance to keep, especially when dealing with injuries and legal troubles. With any luck, all of that is behind Oezdemir, and he can get back to being one of the promotion’s top light heavyweights in “No Time.”