Brian Ortega is coming off his biggest win to date, and is expected to challenge for the UFC’s featherweight crown next. But…the rising star sees bouts at 155 around the corner.
Ortega has essentially locked up a bout with 145 champ Max Holloway, after defeating Frankie Edgar last weekend at UFC 222. Not only did Ortega turn heads by defeating the legend, he dropped jaws throughout the game by becoming the first man to stop Edgar.
If you watched the fight, then you know that the size difference between Ortega and Edgar was very evident, to say the least. Following his impressive and historic win, Ortega was a guest on the UFC’s Unfiltered podcast. While discussing his future, Ortega relayed that he’s thinking about moving to lightweight, and that the jump might not be too far out (quotes via MMA Weekly):
“I’ve thought about it. We need the perfect match-up as far as a fight that I can really give the fans to see. Not just a regular match. I really want to give them a war and something crazy and something big, especially if I’m going to move up a weight class.”
“I’ve definitely thought about it,” Ortega said. “My goal is, if I’m successful against Max Holloway, I’m looking at some opportunities and things in the 155 division.”
There you have it. Really, when you consider how big Ortega is for the featherweight class, it’s not too surprising he’s eyeing fights in the lightweight division. If Ortega loses to Holloway, then one would think fights at 155 could materialize somewhat fairly soon. Nothing is official yet, but Holloway has pushed for a bout with Ortega in July, and the latter said he’s on board.
If Ortega wins, however, then unless he vacates the title, chances are we wouldn’t see him competing at lightweight until next year at the earliest. One would think the UFC would look to book his first title defense for late 2018, and depending on how that went, some offers for lightweight bouts might get tabled.
Holloway, it should also be noted, has also talked about moving up. If McGregor is still holding a lightweight title by the year’s end, could we see McGregor – Holloway II?