Undefeated featherweight contender Brian Ortega on Monday revealed that UFC president Dana White guaranteed that he gets the next shot at UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
It only makes sense that Ortega would be next for Holloway, and it isn’t all that surprising, after Ortega took out former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 over the weekend.
Edgar had been scheduled to challenge Holloway in the UFC 222 main event, but about a month out, Holloway had to withdraw because of an injury. Edgar didn’t want to sit on the sideline and wait, so he put his title shot at risk to fight Ortega in the UFC 222 co-main event. Women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg took the headlining slot.
Ortega upset Edgar, which logically put him next in the line for the belt. White had already said at the UFC 222 post-fight press conference that he would book Holloway vs. Ortega as soon as the champion is ready to return, but Ortega always takes things with a grain of salt until he hears it first hand.
On Monday, he heard it first hand.
“I just got the call from Dana White, the man himself, this morning saying you absolutely, positively, for sure got the shot. Now it’s just a matter of setting it up. All the work is paying off,” Ortega told TMZ Sports on Monday.
Ortega later released the news via a Gracie Breakdown YouTube video. In the video, Ortega can be seen taking a call from White, who can be heard saying, “You’re getting that title shot.”
So, even though UFC lightweight titleholder Conor McGregor has taken some shots at Holloway on social media recently, it appears that Ortega is locked in as the next featherweight title challenger. The only thing we have to figure out now is when the fight will happen.
Holloway injured his ankle in the lead-up to UFC 222, but didn’t sound as if he’d be sidelined for any great length of time. Considering his popularity, it would make sense to add him to the most coveted event on the calendar, as UFC 226 is the centerpiece of this year’s International Fight Week in July, which is the UFC’s cornerstone annual event.
Ortega indicated that UFC officials are thinking along the same lines.
“They said maybe summer. They’re maybe, possibly trying to aim it at International Fight Week, maybe the fight where Stipe Miocic fights Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title,” Ortega said.
The bout between the two champions is expected to be one of the biggest fights in UFC history, let alone the calendar year. Everyone on the roster has been angling for a spot on the UFC 226 fight card, where the UFC heavyweight championship bout will headline on July 7 in Las Vegas.
(Courtesy of GracieBreakdown)