Brian Ortega opens up on changes that led to dominant “Korean Zombie” win

Brian Ortega
Image via @ufc on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Brian Ortega has never looked better than he did in his Saturday night unanimous decision victory over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Ortega’s win over the Korean topped the UFC Fight Island 6 card in Abu Dhabi. The fight was his first since a 2018 stoppage loss to Max Holloway, who was then the UFC featherweight champion.

Despite his lengthy time away from the cage, Ortega showed no signs of ring rust in the cage. In fact, he looked better than ever, showing off grossly improved standup skills, which will help bolster what is arguably the best grappling in his division.

Speaking to the media on Fight Island after his win over The Korean Zombie, Ortega outlined the changes that led to these improvements. The main factor, he says, is surrounding himself with the right people.

“This is a new evolution of what I have to bring to the table,” Ortega said (via MMA Mania). “This is barely Phase 1 though. Me and this team is brand new. This is our first date and it’s going great. We have a full game plan, a full strategy for my entire career and this was a great testament and trust for me to have on them.

“To be having your hand raised at this level is important as well, it’s the number one thing,” Ortega continued during a backstage interview (via UFC News). “But to go out there and start from scratch. Complete scratch. Only Rener is the only guy who stayed with me. Everything else is from scratch. So there was a whole thing where, man, I have to trust these people basically with my life. And in the beginning it was a little bit hard but once I got injured and we started working again, just spending time with these individuals, I trust them. I trust them.

“This is the first time I actually stuck to a gameplan,” Ortega added. “Usually I abort gameplan … well we never really had one to begin with. We kind of made a little semi-one up. But this is the first time I had a true game plan. Had MMA coaches, not just this coach, that coach. Paul Herrera has been in the game for a long time. Tiki Ghosn has fought for the UFC. Jason Park has been around a lot of UFC fighters. Everyone. Maybe the boxing coach I have is new to MMA but we all guided him in.”

What did you think of the performance Brian Ortega put forth on Fight Island?