Brian Ortega has agreed to fight Max Holloway later this year, and he’s good with the proposed UFC 231 date in Toronto, though he says nothing is official — yet.
Lincoln, NB — Plenty of high profile fighters were on hand at the UFC’s debut in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday night. Among those, current featherweight title contender Brian Ortega. And rest assured, he has heard the news that he’s fighting Max Holloway at UFC 231 in Toronto later this year. Only, Ortega wants you to know that nothing’s official. Until it is. But that he has accepted the fight.
“It’s true, we got the call, they offered us to fight [in] December. I said yes.”
“Nothing’s official. I’m always that kind of guy, until I sign the contract,” Ortega said to reporters back stage, including Cageside Press staff writer Mike Straus. “I’m the first one to post it up there. But there’s ears in the game who hear things.”
Those ears slipped a report to MMA Junkie earlier this week, and after that, well, the cat was out of the bag. Ortega was able to confirm that, at least. “It’s true, we got the call, they offered us to fight [in] December,” he admitted. “I said yes. I’m not too sure exactly where, I think they’re pushing for Toronto. It’s just up in the air. December’s up in the air.”
Indeed they are. Canada has been a good fit for Holloway in the past; he first visited the northern nation in 2015 in Saskatoon, then returned the following year to win the interim featherweight title at UFC 206 in Toronto.
“I’m sure Max received the same call,” Ortega suggested, though he has yet to hear from the champion. That said, “It looks like it’s going to happen.”
“The date and location work for me,” when asked about the fight going down in December. “The only thing is, I heard Canada has a law where felons can’t come in, so I don’t know how the homies from the hood are going to make it. So that might be a situation, I got some family members who might not be able to make it.” Ortega was joking about that last bit, much to the chagrin of his coach. In any case, for the time being, it’s all systems go.
At the very least, Ortega now feels vindicated for turning down Jeremy Stephens after Max Holloway dropped out of their fight at UFC 226. And he’s looking forward to facing “a full on, healthy, crazy Max,” he said, “because that’s what’s going to challenge me.”
“I want the real title,” he added later. “I can’t express it enough. That I want to fight for the real title. Interim title, from what I’ve seen, I don’t have to say much words. People get it, and then they take it away from them in a month. I just don’t want to be that person.”
“I want something that they can’t take away from me. At least the UFC can’t,” he finished on the subject.
With Holloway’s repeated health issues though, one would think Ortega might be a little concerned about the possibility of the fight falling through again.
“I keep hearing things, that he’s having a hard time taking weight,” Ortega said of the champ. “I just hope he’s able to make weight. We’ve got enough time. If it was the fact that we took the fight on two months, now we have three. Let’s get the diet right, let’s get this going, let’s get you safely to 145 so we can make this happen.”
Watch the full media scrum with Brian Ortega backstage at UFC Lincoln above!