The UFC featherweight title-challenger Brian Ortega has revealed that watching Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 caused him to target a matchup with the undefeated Russian in the future.
Ortega’s stock has gone through the roof in recent times after a string of high-profile finishes of some of the featherweight division’s most revered icons but with him set to take on the young champion Max Holloway this weekend, he will be faced with an entirely different challenge.
It’s a stylistic clash for the ages. Both guys are dynamic, completely unpredictable, and most importantly, evolving by the fight, so when those cage doors do lock behind them – the fans can expect an unmissable contest.
According to Ortega, he sees this fight as a springboard to greater things – namely a possible super-fight with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Speaking to the media at a media day for UFC 231 (via MMAFighting), T-City explained how watching the Russian’s dominant performance against the former two-weight champion Conor McGregor made him envisage himself in the Irishman’s position – something that caused him to crave the matchup.
“Every grappler, we have this since even before I was training, this whole wrestler vs. jiu-jitsu. We get along in the gym and we’re always like, you know, this is a matchup.
“Our hands are both good. He’s a top game guy and a wrestler and I’m a bottom game guy and a jiu-jitsu guy.”
“I was watching a lot of things in that fight, where, if I was in that position, there’s a lot of things I’d be doing differently. And that kind of just made me realize, kind of just, what I want is a super-fight, if I ever get there, and it’s within reach. If I play my cards right, it’s within reach.”
“I’ve got these ideas I want to go for, if I’m successful hopefully I can start asking Dana White for them.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena