A man who was in a very similar situation last year before his defeat at the hands of Daniel Cormier, Volkan Oezdemir, sees Smith as the “perfect matchup” for him despite the American’s stellar showings in the heavier weight class.
“No Time” meets Smith in the main event of UFC Moncton on Saturday night and insisted that he’s “not worried” about the surging striker who has yet to leave the first round as a UFC 205er.
“He definitely has a lot of hype behind him at the moment. He has wins over two former champs at 205, so a lot of people are talking about him,” Oezdemir told Peter Carroll on the latest episode of Eurobash.
“I’m really not worried about this fight I think he’s the perfect matchup for me. He’s a good striker and a good pressure fighter, but I don’t think he has anything else that’s going to scare me. I think my power is on another level and my power will outmatch his.”
Oezdemir thinks his size - as a much larger man than both Rua and Evans - will make him a far more difficult challenge for Smith.
“I’ll definitely need to see him at light heavyweight a little bit more to see the difference because he has been fighting differently at light heavyweight than he did at middleweight. At middleweight, he was fighting more patiently,” he explained.
“He’s had two really quick finishes in two fights [at light heavyweight], that’s definitely something we need to take into consideration. He’s a pressure fighter, fighting at 205 will give him more strength but he will also have to carry more weight. He’ll also be fighting a bigger guy. I think I’m bigger than Shogun [Rua] and Rashad [Evans]. I will be in my prime very soon, so this is going to be a really bad matchup [for Anthony].”
Oezdemir scaled to the top of the weight class to challenge for the title in less than 12 months from his first Octagon outing. He expects an emphatic finish of Smith on Saturday night will reestablish him as a top contender.
“A big win will solidify my place as the No. 2 contender and make me relevant for the next shot at the title. I knew I was going to have a quick rise in the UFC,” he continued, “But now I’m going to do everything in my power to get back into the title picture.”
On the latest episode of Eurobash, MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll chats with Irish journalist Niall McGrath about the latest MMA news from Europe. The Volkan Oezdemir interview begins at 57:40.