BOSTON -- Don’t ship Daniel Cormier off to the retirement home just yet.
The UFC light heavyweight champion turns 39 in March, and has talked about retiring by the time he turns 40.
But Saturday night, the old dog showed he’s still got plenty of bite. Cormier put on a master class of veteran guile in defending up-and-comer Volkan Oezdemir in the co-feature bout of UFC 220. The time of the TKO stoppage was 2:00 of the second round at TD Garden.
Switzerland’s Oezdemir, who had won his previous two fights by knockout in under a minute to earn the title shot, looked for another quick one. He whiffed on big punches that Cormier dodged.
By the end of the first round, Cormier found his footing. He scored a takedown on a second effort, rained down left hands as Oezedmir turned over, and sunk in a rear-naked choke.
Ozedemir was saved by the horn at the end of the first, but it was the beginning of the end. Cormier again shot a single, finished it with a trip, and worked into side control. Eventually he rained down uncontested punches in crucifix position until referee Kevin MacDonald waved the bout off.
Cormer was restored as champion over the summer when his TKO loss to Jon Jones at UFC 214 was overturned following Jones’ postfight drug test-failure. Cormier was emotional after the fight in saying that with the victory, he once again felt like a champ.
“I go through a lot of stuff, so many things,” Cormier said. “It feels good to go out there and get a victory. I lost twice to Jon Jones, I said I felt like I wasn’t a champ because he beat me last time, and I feel now that I won I’m the UFC champion again.”
Cormier also had praise for Oezdemir, who dropped to 15-2.
“I proved that I am worthy of being champion, but Volkan is on the level,” Cormier said. “I leave a piece of myself with me with each opponent, and I feel like he can take something from this fight.”