Brian Ortega Ready To Fight At UFC 227, But Only For A UFC Title
This time last week, Brian Ortega was preparing for his first ever shot at the UFC featherweight title.
Unfortunately for him, champion Max Holloway was pulled from the bout last Wednesday evening after being hospitalized for the second time that week with an expected concussion. The situation left Ortega in limbo and after careful consideration with his team, he decided not to take them up on an offer for a last minute replacement interim UFC featherweight title shot against Jeremy Stephens.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show last evening, Ortega revealed that UFC President Dana White was none too pleased with his decision to turn the fight with Stephens down and for a period of at least 24-hours their relationship was strained.
The relationship between Ortega and White looks to have been repaired, but the hurt of missing out on his first ever title opportunity was still there for all to see. Ortega said that he noticed something was off with Holloway early on in the week and that he now just wants to see the Hawaiin make a full recovery.
“Something felt wrong; something felt really wrong, from the beginning,” Ortega said. “From the fighter’s award, where he didn’t show up to get his award, to the next day after that with the open workouts and all the media things that you’ve seen.
“He just, you could tell it was, either he was having a really bad, what I thought was he was having a really bad weight cut, but I didn’t know it was a concussion, and then, I don’t know. Now they’re saying water intoxication. So, whichever one, it’s just, as long as his health is good, that’s all I want for him.”
Whilst hoping to see Holloway make a full recovery, Ortega doesn’t want to hang around for his title shot. With Holloway pulling out of his last three fights at UFC 222, UFC 223 and now UFC 226, Ortega thinks the UFC should strip him of his title and make a title fight for Ortega at UFC 227 in his own backyard of California.
“They (the UFC) said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight 45 they’re saying as well,” Ortega said.
“So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I go, I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples [Center] but, I go, let’s get that situated.”
Watch the full replay of the Helwani MMA Show: