The UFC officially has its main event for its return to the TD Garden in Boston, announcing that light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will face fast-rising contender Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 on Jan. 20.
News of the contest comes just one day after UFC president Dana White confirmed Oezdemir would indeed be next for a shot at the light heavyweight title, despite having been arrested and charged for aggravated battery earlier this month.
Cormier will step into the cage just six months removed from being knocked out against longtime rival Jon Jones at UFC 214. Originally deemed the loser that night, Cormier was re-crowned the champion a few months later after it was revealed Jones tested positive for banned substances in their title rematch. Jones has since been provisionally suspended, with his UFC 214 victory now being ruled a no-contest.
“D.C.” last successfully defended the title against Anthony Johnson at UFC 210 in April, defeating the heavy-hitting contender via second-round submission. The win over Johnson was Cormier’s fourth in a row, preceded by wins over Anderson Silva at UFC 200, Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192, and Johnson again at UFC 187.
Oezdemir, meanwhile, will look to make a potentially historic climb up the light heavyweight ladder. Debuting in the UFC in February, the fighter aptly nicknamed “No Time” will be challenging for the UFC’s 205-pound belt less than a year later. He’s 3-0 in the UFC, winning his last two fights via knockout in a combined 70 seconds.