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Jeremy Stephens vows to pull Brian Ortega’s gangster card for ducking him at UFC 226

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

UFC 226 -- which went down last Saturday night (July 7, 2018) in Las Vegas, Nevada — suffered a major blow after Max Holloway was forced out of his Featherweight title fight against Brian Ortega.

As usual, the promotion was forced to try and make up for the last minute loss and tried to book an interim title fight between Ortega and heavy-hitting contender Jeremy Stephens. While “Lil Heathen’” was open to the fight on a couple of days notice, “T-City” opted to sit and wait for “Blessed” to get healthy to face him for the undisputed title down the road.

It’s a move that didn’t sit too well with Stephens, as he took to Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to call out Ortega for ducking him.

“It’s really not my concern what that guy does. I stepped up and he stepped back. It is what it is, what can I do about it? I don’t want to sit here and talk about the guy, I really don’t know him personally,” he said. “I am willing to fight and all I know is that this is the third time that my name has been in his ear. He has seen me fight a lot, in the front row, and seen me knock a motherfucker out. I mean, you tell me.”

When asked if he firmly believes Ortega is doing everything in his power to avoid fighting him, “Lil Heathen’” didn’t hold back.

“Those are facts, bro. Deny all you want, he stepped back and I stepped up. They said they were going to fight somebody else, Frankie, and I said take it and then they called it off,” he said.

With Holloway’s health and future as 145-pound champion up in the air, Stephens is more than willing to face Ortega for the division title if presented to him. He’s even willing to fight at the upcoming UFC 227 event on Aug. 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

And he’ll pull Ortega’s gangster card while he’s at it.

“I told Dana that I will go to that kid’s mama’s house in L.A. and fight him in his front yard. I’ll fight him August 4, why not? Jose Aldo lost two title fights, he is out. I’ve been in the sport 11 years, putting on dominant performances, why not give him to me right now? Let’s set it up for September 8,” said Stephens, before outright calling Ortega out for ducking him multiple times.

“This kid is ducking me. Whether I fight Jose or not, they can pull me off this card and I will fight this kid in L.A. on August 4. I will go to his backyard, fight him there and pull his gangster card,” he added. “I saw on Embedded where he is talking about he used to show up to domes and bar fights where you look at a guy, you are the same weight and you fought. Well I don’t know if he was there with his little jiu-jitsu crew watching guys like me who actually stepped up and fought grown men when I was 16 years old and I wasn’t even supposed to be there. That was me, I was really living that type of life. I do this shit for fun, because I love it,” concluded a fired-up Stephens.

This isn’t the first time Jeremy has ragged on “T-City,” as he criticized the up-and-coming star earlier this year for being lazy.

Back to the task at hand, Stephens hopes to lock down his spot as the next title contender and a possible showdown against Ortega, as he is set to throw hands opposite ex-division champion, Jose Aldo, at the UFC on FOX 30 event on July 28 in Calgary.

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