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Why Brian Ortega can't afford to lose his next fight

UFC 222: Edgar v Ortega
UFC 222: Edgar v Ortega
Jacob Felder
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 12 Oct 2020, 04:05 IST
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When he made his UFC debut, Featherweight contender Brian Ortega was surrounded with a ton of hype. Many fans and pundits compared him with some of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artists on the planet. Some even went as far as calling him a future champion. However, times have changed and Ortega is barely in the news. If he continues down the same road, he could be on his way to irrelevancy.

Brian Ortega entered the UFC with a bang. He won his promotional debut via a rear-naked choke, but it was later overturned to a no-contest, after testing positive for a banned substance.

Unlike most fighters, Ortega took the suspension on the chin. He was suspended for nine months and instead of losing fans, he gained more of them.

Ortega's fight against Cub Swanson in 2019 propelled his career. Why? Well, he pulled off an incredible standing guillotine. His next fight against Frankie Edgar put his ever-improving striking game on display, as he knocked Edgar out with an "uppercut from hell."

Brian Ortega has been out of action for too long

After the win over Edgar, Ortega earned himself a title shot and faced off against then-champion, Max Holloway in an electrifying bout. Holloway landed 290 significant strikes, whereas Ortega landed 110 on the champion.

By the end of the fourth round, Ortega did not look the same and the ringside physician was forced to call the fight off, granting Holloway the TKO win. Following the loss, Ortega was handed a six-month medical suspension.

UFC 231 Holloway v Ortega
UFC 231 Holloway v Ortega

Since then, Brian Ortega has not fought in the UFC. He has pulled out multiple times and last fought almost two years ago. "T-City" has been unable to build any momentum until now.

Brian Ortega might get shoved aside

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New contenders have emerged since Ortega's last fight; Holloway is no longer the champion, for starters. Fighters like Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar, and Josh Emmett are itching for a title shot against Alexander Volkanovski.

Should Ortega lose his next fight against Chan Sung Jung, a second title shot will be impossible to get in the near future. He would also lose a ton of fans and momentum to his upcoming opponent, who may then fight the champion after Ortega.

Speaking of Jung, Brian Ortega may have already lost some fans when he slapped Jung's translator, Jay Park, at UFC 248. Fans called it a cowardly move, as "The Korean Zombie" was not even present during the incident.

There's a lot at stake for Brian Ortega in his upcoming bout on October 18th.

Published 12 Oct 2020, 04:05 IST
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