Oezdemir (17-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was set to welcome former Rizin light heavyweight champion Prochazka (26-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) to the UFC, but the coronavirus outbreak put a halt on negotiations.
“They offered me Jiri Prochazka, and I verbally accepted the fight,” Oezdemir told MMA Junkie. “Just for the moment right now, I didn’t get any proposal (or) fight offer. I was still doing my renewal of the contract and it took some time, and now finally it’s done and probably the fight contract will come after that.”
Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Oezdemir snapped a three-fight losing skid with back-to-back wins over Ilir Latifi and Aleksandar Rakic to push him one step closer to the top of the division. But, due to visa issues, Oezdemir hasn’t been able to compete in the United States, which has made it difficult for him to draw most top contenders.
However, Oezdemir understands the situation that he’s in, and is trying to make the most of the opportunity in front of him.
“For me, it’s good,” Oezdemir said. “I like this fight. The problem for Jiri is that he’s a newcomer, he was a champion in Japan, but I think the UFC has trouble finding opponents for him and at the same time, they have trouble finding opponents for me, so it’s like a situation where everything’s coming together.
“It’s a little difficult to match me for big fights because most of the big fights happen in the U.S., and for the moment it’s gonna be difficult for me, and a lot of people, they don’t want to be traveling. My last fight was in Korea, before that was in Uruguay. It’s like (it’s) always at the next end of the world, and the bigger crowd, the bigger place, is the U.S. That’s where the biggest fights are and it’s a little difficult for me because of that.”
While the UFC’s planned Dublin event is looking unlikely to proceed given the current circumstances of the global pandemic, Oezdemir said he would love it if his fight with Prochazka was relocated to Dana White’s now-infamous “Fight Island.”
“Definitely, ‘Fight Island’ sounds amazing,” Oezdemir said. “We’ve all been watching all those movies back in the day about tournaments on islands and stuff like that and it’s just great. Especially if they’re building what they say they’re building. A place to train on an unknown island for the moment, it’s dreamy. You cannot dream about that.”