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Brian Ortega unfazed ahead of UFC 226 title shot - ‘I don’t care about a loss’

MMA: UFC 214-Moicano vs Ortega Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After becoming the first fighter ever to finish former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, undefeated featherweight contender Brian Ortega will now take a shot at current 145-pound champion Max Holloway this July at UFC 226.

It’s a tremendous fight for Ortega, especially considering Holloway is riding a 12-fight win streak and has defeated almost every worthy name on the featherweight roster. Tasked with overthrowing a champion who is coming off back-to-back finishes over the great Jose Aldo, “T-City” feels confident leading up to his battle with Holloway.

“I’m ready,” Ortega told media members earlier this week in Las Vegas (h/t MMAjunkie). “How can I say it, man? This is something that, for the longest time, was just a vision. Now it’s actually a plan. We’re actually starting training camp for it, and it’s still surreal. It’s like, ‘Holy (expletive), I got the shot.’”

While most first-time title challengers might feel overwhelmed by the moment, especially on a huge stage during the promotion’s perennial International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Ortega is happy to be party of the process. Winning the title would be a huge accomplishment for the California native, but his journey thus far is already enough to hang his hat on.

“How many fighters can say that they’ve got the chance there?” Ortega said. “Especially coming up from where I came from. Something bad can happen after this fight and never fight again, and I can say, ‘You know what? I went all the way undefeated to the belt.’ So I’m already winning. The belt is just something extra.”

If Ortega is able to defeat Holloway and capture the featherweight title this summer, he could be in line for a very successful reign as champion. But even with history at his fingertips, “T-City” sometimes wonders if losing will take away some of the pressure that comes with being an undefeated fighter on the rise.

“Sometimes I felt like the pressure would be gone if I just got it out the way – if I lost, and the fans talked whatever they had to talk, made the crazy memes and just, ‘I went through that phase, and I know what that is like,’” Ortega said. “But, at the same time, I lost so many other things in my life where – that’s why I feel like I don’t care about a loss.

“And that’s, I think, why I keep winning. It’s because I don’t care about it. You see me down two rounds. I just keep fighting, because I love it. And I want to finish. I’m in your face. I lost a lot of friends, I lost a lot of things in life that, to me, are far much worse than a dent on the record. Just says dash-1, you know? It just means you lost a fight. But, life in general, I lost so much other things that I don’t really care for it.”

UFC 226 will take place on July 7 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be headlined by a heavyweight title fight pitting current champion Stipe Miocic against UFC light heavyweight king Daniel Cormier.

For more UFC 226 fight card news click here.

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