Brian ‘T-City’ Ortega was supposed to take on champion Max Holloway for the title at UFC 226 last weekend. However just few days before the event, Holloway was forced to pull out due to facing concussion like symptoms including blurry vision and slurred speech.
In came the #4 ranked featherweight contender Jeremy ‘Lil Heathen’ Stephens to chip in as a replacement. However UFC President Dana White at a pre-fight press conference said that the UFC attempted to fill in Stephens as a replacement to fight Ortega but Ortega didn’t take the fight. He rather opted to wait until champ Holloway is recovered and ready to fight.
It might seem a tactical decision to many but Ortega’s former opponent, former lightweight champion and UFC veteran Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar believes this decision may have just cost Ortega the title shot.
“Everybody has their own reasons,” Edgar told TMZ Sports (transcript 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.”
Edgar does believe that Ortega deserves a title shot, however the consequences for turning down the fight cannot be overlooked.
“I still think he deserves it. He worked towards it,” Edgar said of his former opponent. “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 to jump at it because it can get taken from you even without you doing anything wrong.”