Brian Ortega could not have began his UFC profession any higher than he did, submitting Mike De La Torre within the first spherical throughout his debut at UFC on FOX 12.
Then, catastrophe struck: Ortega failed a drug check for the steroid, drostanolone and was suspended 9 months.
Most fighters would have been dejected, however the 27-yr-previous featherweight turned the unfavorable right into a constructive, reeling off 5 consecutive stoppage wins upon his return. The streak earned Ortega the most important battle of his life, a co-most important occasion bout at UFC 222 towards former light-weight champion Frankie Edgar.
Ortega realized how shortly he has risen in a sport the place alternatives, most of the time, do not come this shortly.
“I truly had time to mirror the opposite day and simply type of sit there. I used to be slightly stressed simply because the final eight months of my life has been shifting at a very quick tempo,” Ortega advised Sporting Information. “I used to be questioning like, ‘It’s shifting fairly shortly. I simply turned 27 and every little thing is all proper. Take a look at what you’ve got already achieved. Life goes to be all proper’.
“I simply had just a little pep speak with myself and it feels good. To have the ability to battle veterans, prospects and up-and-comers, to maintain profitable and preventing a legend on Saturday within the co-important occasion on a pay-per-view. Life is nice.”
Following his victory over lengthy-time UFC veteran and prime featherweight contender Cub Swanson in December, Ortega deliberate on taking some day without work. Then, featherweight champion Max Holloway suffered a leg damage and bowed out of the unique UFC 222 most important occasion towards Edgar, the UFC in flip asking for a favor.
Ortega solely had one struggle left on his contract, so he and the UFC went to the drafting board and began discussing a brand new deal. He obtained his new contract and parlayed it into the struggle.
If issues hadn’t labored out with the UFC and he did not get a brand new deal, Ortega had no drawback ready for Holloway and Edgar to battle to face the winner.
“I used to be going to attend for Frankie and Holloway to battle after which I get the shot after,” Ortega stated. “Every thing is nice. Every little thing is as deliberate. Even earlier than this struggle, I used to be already renegotiating my contract with the UFC. Getting the struggle with Frankie truly helped get it finished quicker.”
In some instances, when the UFC says a fighter is a getting a title shot, it does not find yourself occurring. The native of California says that is not the case right here as UFC president assured him if he defeats Edgar, the prospect at gold is his.
“The boss has already advised us the winner of this will get a shot on the belt.”
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing author and contributor for Sporting Information. You’ll be able to take heed to his podcast, “The Struggle Junkies” right here. You possibly can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and may discover him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.