After Brian Ortega submitted Cub Swanson at UFC Fresno, everyone was asking him if he was going to fight UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway next. His answer? He’d let Frankie Edgar get his shot first. Normally, nice guys finish last in this combat sports game, but for Ortega it looks like things have worked out. After the title bout between Edgar and Holloway has fallen through twice, Ortega jumped at the chance to fight Edgar not only to guarantee he fights for the belt next, but to get over with the fans and the UFC.
“When you think about it, there’s guys and there’s fighters who have waited before that got promised a title shot and things never happened. For whatever reason, they had to fight again and it just never happened. So, the way I looked at it, this [fight with Frankie Edgar] is a blessing in disguise. I beat Frankie and it insures a for sure title shot without question, without wait. If I beat Frankie, automatically the fight between myself and Max [Holloway] will get booked. So, I figured why wait and keep your fingers crossed for that shot, wait even longer to fight and get a little cold?”
— UFC (@ufc) February 20, 2018
“There are other benefit packages that come with it. You take a fight on short notice and you save the card, and I know the fight fans always appreciate that. They always appreciate a fighter who is willing to step in on short notice. That’s something that I did before in the past, but because no one really knew who I was, it didn’t really count. So, this is a new way with the new platform and fans that I have to show them that I’m just a down fighter who’s ready to step in there and fight the best of the best.” — Brian Ortega speaking to ESPN’s 5 Rounds podcast.
Without a doubt, if Brian Ortega can put away Frankie Edgar like he did Cub Swanson, he’ll be the one challenging Max Holloway instead of ‘The Answer’. Which not only would mean Ortega gets the biggest fight of his life, but maybe even a trip to Hawaii. For right now though, his focus is on former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and hoping that his post-fight Jack in the Box order is celebratory.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/22/2018.