Brian Ortega may have a title fight against Max Holloway lined up for UFC 226 on July 7th, but a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov is certainly something he’s interested in after.
Brian Ortega may have his sights firmly set on featherweight gold when he faces Max Holloway at UFC 226, but “T-City” isn’t ruling out a fight against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the future.
Ortega secured himself a title shot against Holloway when he became the first man to knock out Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March. The 24-year-old is unbeaten in his professional career, and has never gone the distance during his time in the UFC. Prior to beating Edgar, Ortega secured wins over the likes of Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano.
When Tony Ferguson was forced out of his fight against Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 with a knee injury, Ortega was one of many fighters who campaigned to fill in for the injured “El Cucuy.” He spoke to MMAjunkie about why a fight with Khabib intrigued him.
“Not too many people present a good ground game from the bottom, they survive a little bit, and it’s kind of boring,” Ortega said. “But not too many people are attacking from the bottom, hurting with elbows. They don’t bring that kind of game because it takes a long time to develop. Whereas me, I grew up in that situation, where I was always the bottom guy, always getting beat up by these guys. So I had to adapt my game to that.”
Ortega will be hoping to put an end to Holloway’s 12-fight unbeaten streak on July 7th. Although 145-pound gold is his main priority, a move up in weight to face Khabib is definitely something Ortega is interested in.
“It’s on my radar,” he said. “I have a big fight right now, but that one, for sure, it’s on the radar. I have to be successful on July 7, and hopefully, I can make that happen after.”
UFC 226 takes place on July 7th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stipe Miocic will attempt to defend his heavyweight belt when he faces light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the event.