Earlier this week, Conor McGregor stated that he would be willing to accept a short notice replacement fight against either Tony Ferguson or Anthony Pettis should Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘bottle it’ and pull out of UFC 229 at the last minute.
To his credit, McGregor hasn’t pulled out of any fights in the past and has accepted short notice fights against the likes of Chad Mendes and Nate Diaz, with the latter being contested at welterweight.
But, would the Irishman be willing to accept a last minute scrap with Brian Ortega?
Speaking to TMZ Sports in a recent interview, ‘T-City’ said he would be willing to ‘jump in’ and ‘save the card’ should circumstances rule either man out of the UFC 229 main event.
“I always stay ready,” Ortega said. “There’s a lot of money on the line for that one and I doubt someone’s gonna get injured – I’ll be honest with you. But, I’ve been wrong many times, so, who knows? But I’m sure I’m in line; I’m sure there’s a lot of other fighters in line. But, yea, I’d definitely jump in if something happened.”
“These are the kinda fights that I’ll step in on last minute to save the card. Not no other fights like the last situation we had, where they wanted me to fight that clown,” Ortega said about his refusal to fight Jeremy Stephens as a last minute replacement for Max Holloway at UFC 226.
Khabib vs. McGregor is the biggest fight in UFC history, so it’s unlikely that either man will pull out during fight week. And, although Ortega is willing to step in on short notice, the UFC is more likely to select ‘El Cucuy’ as the last minute replacement.
It was confirmed on Monday that Ortega will challenge Max Holloway for the featherweight title at UFC 231 on Dec. 8. Ortega was previously scheduled to lock horns with Holloway at UFC 226 but ‘Blessed’ was forced to withdraw from the main event after being hospitalized just days before the fight.
UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor takes place this Saturday, October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.