Ortega has lined up a bout with the featherweight champ, after taking out Frankie Edgar in the opening round at UFC 222, earlier this month. Ortega agreed to step-up on short notice for the opportunity, when Holloway went down with an injury.
So, it’s not known yet when Ortega will get his title shot, but both fighters have expressed an interest in throwing down this summer at UFC 226, July 7th. Recently Ortega appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and while discussing his upcoming fight with the champ, the rising star said this (quote via MMA Fighting):
“I love (Holloway’s) style. People said it and I’m saying it again, I feel like this is one of the biggest fights in the UFC featherweight division since Conor and Aldo,” Ortega said. “It’s going to be a great pay-per-view, you’ve got two young guys who are hungry, I feel like we have similar backgrounds. He’s always stayed with his team from the beginning, so did I. He’s got a group of friends, I’ve got my group of friends. He loves surfing, I love surfing.
“Hawaiian vs. Mexican, we both like to scrap. I love this fight. These are the fights that I look forward to and I’m happy that I’m going to be able to be there for a full 25 minutes this time and fighting for the world title.”
It’s hard to argue with Ortega here. After all, we’re talking about a contest between two of the UFC’s fastest rising commodities. Ortega has gone 14-0 to date, and he’s defeated the likes of Clay Guida, Cub Swanson and Edgar. Holloway, meanwhile, has done nothing but win since he lost via decision to McGregor in 2013. Since that bout, Holloway’s won 12 straight, and the Hawaiian fighter has defeated Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, Anthony Pettis and the legendary Aldo, not once, but twice.
So, from a stylistic and meritocratic perspective, there’s no question Holloway – Ortega is a huge fight. It likely does have the most buzz tied to a 145 bout since Aldo – McGregor. What other featherweight fights have had more?
Would Holloway – Edgar have had more hype in mainstream circles? Since Edgar has been a top tier fighter for years and is more well known? Probably not, now that Ortega took the legend out in such emphatic fashion.