Brian Ortega revealed that he believes jumping in a frozen pool while cutting weight for his UFC 231 title fight against champion Max Holloway led to him losing the fight.
T-City made the revelation on the UFC 260 countdown show and also said that the jump into the frozen pool made it difficult for him to gain the weight back after successfully making 145 lbs at the weigh-ins. He alleged that it severely affected his performance in the title fight and resulted in a difficult-to-watch lopsided loss to the former champion.
"Too much happened in that fight. A lot of problems, a lot of stress with internal issues. I jumped into a frozen pool... We were really dehydrated, our immune system was low. People say you can't get sicker than that, they say you did. Now we're just fighting, all of this. Basically the next day I wake up, I feel like s**t. I can't eat, my weight is not going up and I have to fight. I get out there and this guy is just a monster. This guy is just on fire," Brian Ortega said.
After announcing his arrival in the UFC's featherweight division with six straight wins, Brian Ortega earned a shot at the 145 lb title held by Max Holloway. Originally scheduled to take place at UFC 226, the fight was rescheduled for UFC 231 in December 2018 after Hollway was diagnosed with a severe health condition.
Ortega entered the fight as a -120 betting favorite. However, Holloway gained the upper hand in the fight right from the opening minute and threw an avalanche of punches at Ortega throughout the entirety of the fight. T-City had his own moments in the fight and showed durability by absorbing a record 290 significant strikes from the champ. Max Holloway won the fight via TKO due to the doctor's stoppage when Ortega was declared unfit to continue after the end of the fourth round.
Following a two-year layoff after the loss, Brian Ortega returned to competition in October 2020 against No. 5 ranked featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung. Ortega won the fight via unanimous decision and earned his second shot at UFC gold.
Brian Ortega is slated to face reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski in the co-main event of the UFC 260 PPV card, which is scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 27, 2021.
Brian Ortega can relate to Calvin Kattar's situation in the Max Holloway fight
Former featherweight champion Max Holloway fought No. 7 ranked Calvin Kattar in January 2021. The fight was a repeat of Hollway vs. Ortega 2 as the former champion dominated his opponent from pillar to post and landed a record 445 significant strikes on Kattar. While talking to ESPN earlier this month, Ortega told Brett Okamoto that he could place himself in Calvin Kattar's situation and understand what he was going through.
"I could (place myself in Calvin Kattar's position), and I was like, I know what that man's going through. Then you check the numbers and I go, 'he knows more than that coz he got him worse than he got me.But the good part of that is Kattar is still healthy... He's still gonna come back, he's still gonna fight," Brian Ortega said.