Friday , June 25 2021

Why Brian Ortega still is not sold on Max Holloway fighting

TORONTO – UFC featherweight title challenger Brian Ortegaconsiders himself a pretty good judge of character.

So when champion Max Holloway did not answer a direct question – how confident are you that you'll show up Saturday? – it left a pretty strong impression.

"When I saw that, I was not convinced," Ortega told reporters today after an open workout in support of his UFC 231 headliner against Holloway at Scotiabank Arena.

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Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has been here before. Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) withdrew from a scheduled title defense at UFC 222, citing concussion symptoms. In response, Ortega refused a backup fight and demanded he get a title bout regardless of Holloway's participation when they were rebooked.

Now just two days away from UFC 231, Ortega is feeling aggravated to be here again.

"I do not want to go through it twice, but now I'm at the point where if I have to do it, I have to do it," he said.

After all, the 27-year-old fighter told reporters, he's been in camp virtually the entire year, passing up birthdays, holidays and other celebrations in an effort to be his best when his shot arrived.

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Holloway worked out after Ortega and said he's close to making weight for Saturday's bout, a good sign it's on track. But if something happens, Ortega wants a sit-down with the UFC.

A rematch with featherweight Renato Moicano might serve as the only viable alternative if Holloway withdraws. Ortega is not ready to sign off on that just yet.

"We're looking at a meeting," Ortega said. "We do not want to just go in there and say it's Max and get your heart broken again, and you have to fight Moicano – you get caught off guard.

"Right now, I'm almost in that mentality to where I just want to fight for you guys and give you guys a show, and just fight for the title."

For more on UFC 231, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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