After two years off from MMA, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product Brian Ortega returned to MMA last year with back-to-back wins, remaining undefeated overall in the process.
“Last year went well,” said Ortega in retrospect. “I fought in May against an undefeated fighter (in Thomas Guimond) and I finished him in the first round. And then I fought one of the toughest guys I’ve ever fought in Jordan Rinaldi in the RFA and finishing him was a really big accomplishment for me.
“I wasn’t expecting Rinaldi to be as tough as he was, but we still managed to get the job done. I learned not to take anyone that lightly anymore.”
Now that he’s back in MMA full-time, Ortega is pushing himself to become a more compete fighter.
“I’ve been training a lot harder now,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “I think all my sparring partners have been telling me how far I’ve progressed, so I’m pretty much going off what they tell me.”
Ortega’s hard work is paying off as he’s been given an opportunity to fight for the vacant featherweight title this Friday at RFA 12 in Los Angeles against fellow undefeated fighter Keoni Koch.
“This is going to be my toughest fight,” said Ortega. “This isn’t going to be a regular fight for me. It will be five, five-minute rounds, so we have a lot of time. To be honest, I can’t tell you how I’m going to do, but it’s going to be a good fight for sure.”
Should Ortega defeat Koch and claim the RFA title, he feels it will validate him as a true up-and-comer in the sport and will place him one step closer to his ultimate goal.
“I was a champion in RTC, but now (in the RFA) this is where I can really prove myself by winning this belt,” he said. “Pretty much all their champions go to the UFC, so hopefully I can get this championship and then eventually go on and show the world what I can do once I get there.”