Surging light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith has already brutally knocked out two former divisional champions in a row since moving up from middleweight earlier this year, and now he’s aiming for a title shot of his own.
However, the light heavyweight champion is also now the heavyweight champion, meaning Daniel Cormier has two belts to defend. Cormier’s made it no secret that he’s excitedly preparing for a big money fight against Brock Lesnar after winning the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 last month, leaving the light heavyweight division in the lurch.
“Lionheart” is once again set to fight for a third time in five months when he takes on Volkan Oezdemir on Oct. 27, and should Smith emerge victorious, he’s ready for a title shot with or without Cormier:
“I think a finish over Oezdemir puts me in line for a title shot. I’m not here to challenge DC to a fight. The only thing I challenge DC to do is do the right thing,” Smith told Submission Radio on Wednesday.
“I think that DC has had a really great career. I think that he’s been a great champion. I think that he’s a stand-up guy for the most part. I think that the UFC and the game as a whole has been good to him; I challenge him to return that back to the game and either sign on the line and put up your title or get out of my way and don’t hold up my journey.”
Strangely enough, Cormier frequently said he would grant Mauricio Rua a title shot if “Shogun” pulled of a fourth win in a row. Smith put a violent end to that idea about a minute and a half into round one, and Cormier hasn’t expressed much interest in a light heavyweight challenger ever since.
Oezdemir himself is coming off of a TKO loss to Cormier at UFC 220 in Jan., and will be looking for a path back to the title himself against Smith.
Smith says Oezdemir is the perfect opponent to make his final statement for a title shot, as both men are strikers with proven knockout power:
“I think that it’s another brutal finish. I really do. I think that our styles match up perfectly for me. Volkan’s not shooting takedowns, it’s just not happening. So even if he watches this and decides, ‘alright, I’m gonna take him down because he’s not gonna be expecting it,’ it doesn’t matter because Volkan doesn’t have it in him.
“Not that he’s not able to, but just his style and his mentality. Volkan’s not shooting any takedowns. So, with the threat of a takedown completely off the table, I don’t think that there’s anyone at 205 that’s gonna win a striking battle with me.”
Smith and Oezdemir will headline UFC Fight Night 138 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.