BRIAN ORTEGA WILL BE HEADING INTO the biggest fight of his career at UFC 222 when he faces Frankie Edgar. Ortega was added to the card as a replacement for reigning Featherweight champion Max Holloway who had to pull out of the main event against Edgar due to an injury.
Holloway’s injury now serves as a blessing and a huge opportunity for Ortega as a win against Edgar would earn the 28-year-old a shot at the title. But beyond the title aspirations, there is more to the showdown between Edgar and Ortega. Ahead of this high-profile showdown, we managed to catch up with Ortega for an exclusive interview.
He talked about the importance of fighting Frankie Edgar, a possibility of moving up weight classes, a potential fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, and much more. You can read Edgar’s responses from the interview below.
On fighting Frankie Edgar and getting a title shot:
This is the biggest fight of my career so far. I am fighting a guy who has been a world champion before, a guy who has fought legends, and the guy who was going to fight for the featherweight world championship title. So, this is the toughest fight of my career.
I was 15 years old, I was in high school when this guy was fighting in the UFC. Fighting in the biggest fighting sport in the world. He’s fought a lot of battles, a lot of wars. I never thought I would fight him.
A lot of people say, oh when I get in I will fight so and so… All kids dream of their opponents and talk about it. But this is actually happening now. Come Saturday, I am going to be facing Frankie Edgar, one of the pioneers of the sport. Also, they told me the winner of this fight gets the title shot.
On criticism by the fans about being one dimensional:
I am not bothered at all because if you look at my resume it is submission, knockout, submission, knockout submission, submission. It proves that I can put you away on your feet or I can put you away on the ground.
A potential fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov and moving up to Lightweight:
If I could paint a picture my career it would be, me fighting Edgar, beating Edgar, winning the 145-pound belt and if Khabib is the 155 champion, I think it would be a dream matchup. Especially for the fans as Khabib likes to wrestle and bring people down and be on top and I like to come back from the bottom and show how powerful I am from the bottom. It would be a great fight for the 155 belt one day.
I would consider moving up, especially now that I am 27 and I am just growing. It’s unfortunate that I am getting older! So yeah I see a future with me going up to 155.
I would love to fight Max for the belt and I would love to fight Khabib for the belt and if I become a two time world champion I would like to fight the other two time champion that is Connor McGregor.
My long term goal is to really make a difference in terms of what this sport looks like and is perceived. Be one of the faces of the sport and not only that but use the opportunity that this limelight is giving me to help people out. I have started my own foundation and I have made steps to be doing this long term so that when I retire I could still be working for the UFC.
UFC 222 Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya will be Live and Exclusive on SONY TEN 2 SD & SONY TEN 2 HD on Sunday 4th March 2018 at 8:30 AM.