After becoming the first man in history to finish the legendary Frankie Edgar, Brian Ortega has jumped to the top of the UFC Featherweight rankings. His first round knockout made it more than clear that he should be the next man to get a shot at the belt around Max Holloway's waist. A call from UFC President Dana White confirmed those suspicions that "T-City" will get his title shot.
A convincing win
Brian Ortega did not simply beat Frankie Edgar. He boxed him up and steamrolled him in the first round. Ortega is known for his jiu-jitsu but this fight never went to the ground. We knew that "T-City" was a capable boxer but he might be even better on the feet than expected. He did not simply stun Edgar and TKO him, Ortega hit him with an uppercut that literally lifted Edgar off his feet. That type of power in a featherweight is dangerous, even without world-class jiu-jitsu to back it up.
The boxing of Brian Ortega was not just a fluke. He has clearly worked hard to improve his standup game which is huge for a matchup with Max Holloway. Holloway is one of if not the best striker in the featherweight division. Those few minutes of boxing Ortega showed against Edgar taught us that he will be able to throw with Holloway even if the fight does not go to the mat. The UFC has a history of throwing last-second curve balls when it comes to title matchups but Brian Ortega is the featherweight that truly deserves a chance at the strap next.
The road ahead
A Brian Ortega vs. Max Holloway title fight would be a thing of beauty. Both fighters look unstoppable. Ortega is still relatively new to the UFC and has never lost while Holloway is on a 12 fight winning streak. Max Holloway cleared out the featherweight division on his way to the title beating the likes of Jose Aldo (twice), Anthony Pettis, Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson, and Jeremy Stephens. He will not be intimidated by Ortega but "T-City" will bring everything he has.
Like most fights, if Ortega can get Holloway to the ground, he will have a massive advantage. On the feet Holloway should have the advantage but after the brief clinic Ortega put on against Frankie Edgar, he might be able to stand toe to toe with the champ. Regardless of what happens, there will be a worthy contender ready to take on the new winner. The featherweight division is deep, including fighters on winning streaks such as Jeremy Stephens, Darren Elkins, and Calvin Kattar. Do not be surprised to see one of those three ready to challenge for the belt by the end of 2018. The future of the featherweight division is exciting, but Brian Ortega has proven that he is the present.
Will Brian Ortega win the featherweight belt in 2018? Leave a comment below.