The UFC featherweight stars served as opposing coaches on the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter, the long-running realty show that is set to return from a hiatus this coming Tuesday on ESPN+. Volkanovski and Ortega found themselves butting heads on TUF instead of inside the octagon when their originally scheduled meeting UFC 260 in March had to be postponed when Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.
That meant spending weeks filming a show together, an experience that the current featherweight champion found mostly pleasant, though he did find some of Ortega’s behavior off-putting.
“To be honest, he doesn’t say much,” Volkanovski said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “He doesn’t say much. I don’t know, I’m a bit over him, to be honest. Just a couple of things, I just think he’s fake and I don’t believe his sh*t, that’s just sort of how it is with me, that’s what I think.”
Pressed for details, Volkanovski suggested that fans will simply have to watch the show to get all of the nitty-gritty. He also acknowledged that manufacturing drama was part of the job, even if only to motivate himself for their upcoming fight.
And if their clash of personalities throws Ortega off of his game at all, even better.
“I just think he plays a nice guy and some of the sh*t he says, I just think it’s all bullsh*t,” Volkanovski said. “I guess you can watch the show and sort of see with little things. … I don’t think he’s that bad of a guy, maybe I’m just looking for things to hate on him for, maybe, yeah, probably. So I’m just sitting here like, ‘Yeah, f*ck Brian Ortega,’ I’m gonna find something to hate him for. Maybe that’s what it was, but like I said, it’s not hard to get under his skin. Even me just saying that I guarantee he’s boiling up.
“Maybe that’s gonna be strategy for my next fight because I know how easily he’s triggered. I’m just gonna be like, ‘Hey, Brian, f*ck you,’ and that’s it.”
It’s Volkanovski’s understanding that his fight with Ortega will be rescheduled for sometime in “early September” after TUF 29 finishes airing. He’s also guessing that the bout will take place in the United States.
As for Ortega’s fighting skills, Volkanovski watched Ortega’s recent one-sided decision win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and he was impressed with the adjustments that Ortega made coming off of his first-ever loss.
“He definitely looked good in that fight,” Volkanovski said. “He surprised me in that fight too. He definitely changed his game a little bit, and then fought a different fight that I wasn’t expecting. But again, I’m confident in my abilities, I just believe I’ll be too much and the beautiful thing about it I can say what I want, but I get to prove it soon. I wish I got to prove it in March when I was scheduled to fight, but obviously that didn’t happen. I’ll prove that very soon.”