Against all odds, it appears as though the UFC featherweight champion of the world will return to the octagon to face Brian Ortega this year.
It may seem like it was an eternity ago, given what has transpired since, but we’re only about seven weeks removed from UFC 226 and Max Holloway’s unfortunate withdrawal from that event.
Many had noticed that the Hawaiian seemed fatigued and slow in his speech during the show’s fight-week and after Michael Bisping called ‘Blessed’ out live on-air, it wasn’t long before his team took the correct measures and pulled him from his co-main event contest.
The MMA world as a whole were near-unanimous in their support for the young champion and genuinely concerned about his health. Mentions of concussion-like symptoms and a potentially harrowing weight-cut were the most prevalent of possible explanations being offered.
Brian Ortega lost out more than anyone when this happened but in the time since, I think it’s fair to say that he has seen his popularity skyrocket.
As one of the UFC’s most marketable young talents, ‘T-City’ has all the makings of a bonafide cross-over star and now, if the reports are to be believed, he’ll get his opportunity to dethrone the dominant force at the top of the 145lb division at long last.
MMAJunkie reported first that the UFC have made the move and will rebook the eagerly anticipated showdown for UFC 231 in Toronto, Canada on December 8.
Featherweight is for sure one of the promotion’s strongest divisions but there is no doubt amongst the fans that these two guys are the very best within that bracket on the planet.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena