Alexander Gustafsson isn’t in a hurry to fight for the UFC light heavyweight title again.
Gustafsson does want to eventually challenge for the belt, but champion Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir will likely be booked for early 2018, and the Swedish mixed martial artist is willing to wait for that fight’s winner.
“Daniel (Cormier) knows I’m here to stay, that I’m waiting for my rematch against him,” Gustafsson told Viaplay Fighting via his Facebook page (transcript via MMAjunkie.com). “I’m not in a hurry. I’ve had longer stretches between fights than this. I’ll be fine.
“I want the belt. I want a title fight. We’ll see if Volkan vs. Cormier gets confirmed. Then I’ll fight the winner and … I’m pretty sure I’ll fight ‘DC.’”
Gustafsson, who took Cormier to a hard-fought split decision at UFC 192 in October 2015, predicted that “DC” will get past Oezdemir, who has skyrocketed in the 205-pound rankings over the past eight months.
Cormier was reinstated as champion last month after ex-foe and titleholder Jon Jones, who knocked Cormier out at UFC 214 in July, failed a pre-fight drug test.
“Volkan does have a puncher’s chance,” Gustafsson said. “He’s not someone you want to underestimate. He’s a power puncher. But ‘DC’ is the better fighter.
“(Cormier) can take a punch. He has the cardio. He is a better mixed martial artist than Volkan. So I see ‘DC’ winning the fight.”
Gustafsson suspects Cormier’s wrestling skills will be the difference maker in a fight with Oezdemir, who has only shown off his standup skills in the Octagon since making his debut in February.
“[Cormier is] going to put [Oezdemir] on his ass,” Gustafsson said. “He’ll take him down and dominate on the ground. Volkan is sort of like Anthony Johnson — a power puncher. We haven’t seen much of his ground game. And I think ‘DC’ will take him down.”
Gustafsson will be rooting for Cormier should the titleholder defend his belt next against Oezdemir, because the former title challenger wants to avenge his loss to the 38-year-old. Of course, if Oezdemir pulls off yet another upset, Gustafsson won’t have any problems challenging him for the title, he said.
“I want to beat ‘DC.’ I want to avenge my loss. Because of that, I want ‘DC’ to win,” Gustafsson said. “But if Volkan were to win, that’s fine with me. Then I’ll avenge Jimi (Manuwa, who lost to Oezdemir in July).”
Gustafsson is riding a two-fight winning streak with a fifth-round TKO win over Glover Teixeira and a decision win over Jan Blachowicz.
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