This weekend, Brian Ortega challenges Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title in the main event of UFC 266. Ortega is known for his lethal submission game but showcased dramatically improved striking skills in his last outing, dominating former title challenger Chan Sung Jung. Now as he heads into his second shot at the featherweight title, Ortega believes his technical acumen is catching up to the rest of his skills, which is a dangerous proposition for Volkanovski.
“I see the game, I play the game,” Ortega told TMZ Sports. “I’m climbing this technical mountain, to speak. These guys are already there. They’re far beyond me, I admit that, like some technical sh*t. But when I get in there, I’m different. There’s some things you can’t teach through technique. On the spot, on the go, when I’m in your face, when I touch you, when I hit you, I make you feel different things. That’s always been my advantage, and now that I’m adding technique to it, I’m climbing, I’m climbing, I’m climbing, I’m learning. I’m only getting more dangerous.”
That certainly could be a problem for other featherweights as Ortega was already extremely dangerous to begin with. The fourth-ranked featherweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, Ortega is 8-1-1 in his UFC career with seven of those wins coming by way of stoppage. Ortega’s lone loss is to former champion Max Holloway in 2018, and should he get the job done this weekend, Ortega says he wants to get the chance to get even with “Blessed.”
“That would be ideal,” Ortega said. “I’m not trying to speak ahead or get past Volkanovski because he beat Max twice, so I’m not here to already start celebrating but that would be ideal. I’m a better person, better fighter than I was when I fought him and watching his last fight, so is he. You always want that. As a fighter, as a competitor, you always want to make that sh*t square or to say, ‘Yo dog, you know what? You legit got the best of me. Good sh*t.’”
Ortega and Holloway fought at UFC 231, with Holloway putting on a striking clinic against the dangerous grappler, landing a then-record 290 significant strikes against Ortega (Holloway broke that record this year, tallying 445 significant strikes against Calvin Kattar), before the doctor stopped the fight in between the fourth and fifth rounds. The loss remains the lone defeat of Ortega’s career and he says he’s itching for another crack at Holloway.
“I’m competitive,” Ortega said. “I want to make sh*t even. It does bother me. You go in there and you go, ‘F*ck!’ I look at my record and I go, ‘F*ck, that one belongs to him. Oh you motherf*cker! Good sh*t.’ I’m not a hater either. I’m not a hater so I’m like good sh*t but I’m from the hood, let’s run that sh*t back. (Laughs). Let’s run it back. Let’s always run it back. Let’s f*cking get down. Even if he f*cks me up again, I’ll fight you 100 times. I’m gonna get one.”
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This was a journey, but Dan Hooker got his visa approved.
And we are in with a shot….they have granted me an appointment Monday. All goes well and I get my passport back, I can jump on the only flight out of NZ Thursday night.
— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) September 17, 2021
I have no problem with the way Anthony Smith just acted when you talk all that shit and you get beat the way Ryan Spann just got beat we don’t need to shake hands and hug Anthony is an OG and do not play. Really was an easy night for @lionheartasmith great job!!!#UFCVegas37
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) September 19, 2021
Smith looked great. Umm can we get subtitles at least with the curse words edited out! Now, I don’t know what he said #UFCVegas37
— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) September 19, 2021
These two love each other.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins this weekend?
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