From the sounds of it, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway wasn’t the only featherweight to accept a last-minute fight with undefeated lightweight dynamo Khabib Nurmagomedov. While it was ultimately Holloway who got the fight, surging featherweight contender Brian Ortega also accepted a matchup with Nurmagomedov.
Ortega dropped this interesting tidbit on Twitter on Monday afternoon. He also assured that while the Nurmagomedov matchup landed in Holloway’s lap, he’ll fight both men in the future.
For the record, Dana called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn’t responded yet. I said yes. Eventually, Max replied and Dana gave him the fight. If all goes according to plan, I’ll get my turn – at both of them.
— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) April 2, 2018
“For the record, Dana called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn’t responded yet,” Ortega explained in his Tweet. “I said yes. Eventually, Max replied and Dana gave him the fight. If all goes according to plan, I’ll get my turn – at both of them.”
Ortega, of course, has already shown us that he’s not afraid to take short-notice fights. He did, after all, just knock Frankie Edgar out with mere weeks to prepare. Had he ended up in the cage with Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, it probably would have been wild. Just imagine: two undefeated contenders, both with absolutely world-class grappling, colliding for the vacant lightweight strap on short notice… While there’s no legitimate way to knock on UFC 223’s new Nurmagomedov vs. Holloway headliner, it’s safe to say the promotion had a solid backup plan in place in the event that Holloway wasn’t able to step up.
Would you have preferred to see Brian Ortega fight Khabib Nurmagomedov rather than Max Holloway?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/2/2018.