Last night, UFC 226 was dealt a terrible blow as featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his co-main event featherweight title fight with undefeated challenger Brian Ortega. Holloway was removed from the card, which goes down this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, with concussion-like symptoms.
From there, the UFC apparently made a brief attempt at finding a short-notice opponent for Ortega, ideally for an interim title fight. Their first choice was streaking featherweight knockout artist Jeremy Stephens. Unfortunately, Ortega wasn’t interested in this idea, and opted to wait for Holloway to recover.
Eager to bolster the UFC 226 lineup, the UFC then apparently attempted to book a last-minute interim title fight between Stephens and Frankie Edgar. Unfortunately, Edgar wasn’t able to commit on such short notice.
Whatever the case, Stephens seems to have been very down for all of the above.
Here’s how it happened, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
UFC called Jeremy Stephens last night with the Ortega interim title fight, per sources. He accepted right away. Once the fight didn’t come to fruition they called about Edgar interim title fight. He accepted that. In between both offers he began cutting to 145. Alas, no fight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2018
“UFC called Jeremy Stephens last night with the Ortega interim title fight, per sources,” Helwani explained in a Thursday Tweet. “He accepted right away. Once the fight didn’t come to fruition they called about Edgar interim title fight. He accepted that. In between both offers he began cutting to 145. Alas, no fight.”
In the wake of all this craziness, Jeremy Stephens wants the world — and perhaps more importantly, the UFC brass — to know that he’s always ready for opportunities of this kind. Perhaps even to this very moment, when it seems he’s out of luck.
— Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) July 5, 2018
“I’m ready,” a pumped up Stephens said in a Thursday Tweet directed to Dana White and Sean Shelby. “I’m always ready. I stay ready. Let me know, my bags been packed since yesterday!”
Would you have liked to see Jeremy Stephens get a short-notice interim title fight with Brian Ortega or Frankie Edgar at UFC 226?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/5/2018.