After Max Holloway was forced out of his featherweight title fight against Brian Ortega last weekend (Sat., July 7, 2018) at UFC 226 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Brian Ortega was offered an interim title fight against late replacement, Jeremy Stephens.
“T-City,” though, opted to pass on that last-minute bout and wait to face “Blessed” for the undisputed strap once the Hawaiian-born fight is good and ready. As a result, Ortega hasn’t been compensated some part of his fight purse for showing up to “Sin City” to handle all of his fight week duties.
And that may not be the worst part, as former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar says Brian may lose something more valuable through no fault of his own.
“Everybody has their own reasons,” Edgar told TMZ Sports recently (transcription via MMA Fighting). “I took that fight because I wanted to fight, I wanted to get in there. He’s a young kid, maybe he thinks it’s too risky and he didn’t want to risk his chance but sometimes when you have a chance to fight for an interim title, you’ve got to jump on it because who knows? Now Brian’s pissed off UFC and company, maybe they might not give him that shot,” he added.
Edgar stepped in on late notice to face Ortega at UFC 222 earlier this year after Holloway was forced out of his title fight against “The Answer.” As a result, Edgar suffered a first round knockout defeat, the first-ever stoppage loss of his career, losing his title shot in the process.
Still, Frankie doesn’t believe Ortega should get stripped of his shot, but if 10 years of fighting inside the Octagon have taught him anything, is that opportunities can get taken away from you even if you did nothing wrong.
“I still think he deserves it. He worked towards it. I can see why he didn’t want to risk it but he’s got to realize what might come with that. When that title comes around you’ve got jump at it because it can get taken from you even without you doing anything wrong,” added Edgar.
With too many moving pieces involved in the fight game, Edgar explains why he isn’t the type of fighter to avoid a showdown if he’s physically able of taking on the challenge.
“For me, I’m not gonna wait around and wait for a title shot or anything,” Edgar said. “I’m gonna let my shoulder heal up properly and get back training and see what happens. If there’s an opportunity, for sure I’m gonna jump on it. If not, I know The Garden is coming back in November [UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on November 3] so that might make sense for me.”
With the 145-pound title picture unclear at the moment given Holloway’s health issues, Edgar says he’d like to face a top contender that can get him closer to another shot at the belt.
“Ideal is everybody gets hurt and I get to fight for the title,” Edgar said, laughing. “But it doesn’t matter to me at this point. I figure one good win over a good opponent will get me the next title shot, no matter who is up.”
Care to offer up any suggestions?