Brian Ortega Says He Was Offered and Accepted Fight Against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223

Brian Ortega says while the UFC was waiting on an answer from Max Holloway, he was offered and accepted a fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov on six days notice.

It turns out Brian Ortega was willing to save the day after the UFC 223 main event fell apart less than a week before the show.

On Sunday it was announced that featherweight champion Max Holloway would face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title after former interim champion Tony Ferguson was forced off the card due to injury.

While Holloway wanted the fight immediately after being offered, he first had to check with his nutritionist to ensure that he could make the lightweight limit safely without doing any damage to his body.

In the mean time it appears the UFC attempted to secure a backup plan just in case Holloway couldn’t fight as Ortega was apparently called and offered the same fight against Nurmagomedov on short notice.

“For the record, Dana [White] called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn’t responded yet. I said yes,” Ortega wrote on Twitter. “Eventually, Max replied and Dana gave him the fight.

“If all goes according to plan, I’ll get my turn — at both of them.”

Ortega is currently awaiting a shot at the featherweight title later this year but there’s no telling if that might get delayed now that Holloway is facing Nurmagomedov in just a few days at UFC 223.

Obviously, Ortega was more than willing to step up to the challenge of facing Nurmagomedov on short notice so he sounds ready for any opportunities being thrown his way at featherweight or lightweight.


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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.

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