Daniel Cormier outwrestles, then finishes, Volkan Oezdemir in second round

BOSTON -- Daniel Cormier was already the UFC's light heavyweight champion going into this weekend, but now he actually feels like it.

Cormier (20-1) defended his 205-pound title Saturday, as he finished Volkan Oezdemir via TKO in the second round. The championship fight co-headlined UFC 220 inside TD Garden.

It was his first appeartance since he lost the title to Jon Jones at UFC 214 last July. He was reinstated as UFC champion after Jones failed a drug test, but said he wouldn't feel like a champion until he got back in the win column.

He did so in resounding fashion Saturday.

"I've lost twice to Jon Jones, and I came into this fight like I was fighting for a vacant title," Cormier said. "I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done. So, I'm UFC champion again."

The finish came at the 2:00 mark of the second round, after Cormier took Oezdemir down and moved into a crucifix. He trapped both of the Swiss fighter's arms under his body and landed free shots with the left hand until the bout was stopped.

Afterward, Cormier praised Oezdemir, whom he took verbal shots at leading up to the fight.

"I proved that I am worthy of being called champion," Cormier said. "But Volkan is on the level. Everybody who makes it to this point is on the level."

Oezdemir (15-2) got his money's worth in the opening round, as he came out swinging for the fences. He initially did well keeping Cormier at bay, within a boxing distance he's most comfortable with.

Cormier's pressure eventually took its toll, however. He hurt Oezdemir with a hard right hand, followed by a winging left in tight. He took Oezdemir down in the final minute of the opening round and probably would have finished him via rear-naked choke had the bell not rung.

Cormier, 38, has said 2018 may be his final year of competition. The only two losses of his professional career came against Jones, who is still on a provisional suspension from the failed drug test. A time frame for his return is not yet known.

Fighting out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Cormier has recorded four total title defenses in his career.

Following UFC 220, UFC president Dana White told ESPN he has interest in a potential superfight between Cormier and Stipe Miocic, who defended his heavyweight belt over Francis Ngannou in Saturday's co-headline match. Cormier has competed at heavyweight in his career.

Cormier, who may have suffered a broken thumb in the fight, was noncommittal on any future bout. He is a longtime teammate of former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, and has stated he would not interfere with Velasquez's attempt to regain the title.