Brian Ortega: 'It Didn’t Seem Like It Was the Same' Volkanovski at UFC 298

UFC
February 22, 2024
Brian Ortega got to see Alexander Volkanovski at the top of his game.

He isn’t so sure that was the case when Volkanovski relinquished the title to Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 this past weekend.

Ortega dropped a five-round verdict to Volkanovski in their featherweight title tilt at UFC 266 in September 2021. While Ortega absorbed more than 200 significant strikes in that bout, he also placed Volkanovski in serious peril with with submission attempts in the third and fourth frames. Neither was successful, which allowed Volkanovski to take a clear victory on the scorecards.

Volkanovski’s reign ended at UFC 298, where after winning the first round on all three scorecards, “The Great” succumbed to a right hook from Topuria 3:32 into Round 2 to signal a new era at 145 pounds.

“Props to Ilia. He won. That was a very devastating KO he got,” Ortega said at media day ahead of UFC Mexico City. “For Volk, I’m trying to look at it from both perspectives. Topuria’s game plan was really good, staying calm, moving back, throwing power punches.

“To me, it didn’t seem like it was the same Volk. Seeing him and being in front of him it was like, ‘Man you’re moving different.’ But obviously, he adjusts for every opponent for he has. So who knows? But I am curious to see what happens in the featherweight division.”

For Ortega, that means returning to action for the first time since a shoulder injury prematurely ended his first meeting with Yair Rodriguez 4:11 into Round 1 of their fight at UFC on ABC 3 on July 16, 2022. Ortega and Rodriguez will square off again in a five-round co-main event at UFC Fight Night 237 on Saturday at Mexico City Arena.

“My perspective on it is it’s just a continuation of that fight,” Ortega said.

“…It was interesting. I was out for a while. Finally when the doctors cleared me from everything , I was able to talk to my manager … talked to the team. Everyone said we were ready. We got into negotiations and his name popped up. I said, ‘Here we go.’”

Ortega has been out of the public eye for the majority of the time since suffering that injury. One of the prevailing themes of his comeback on social media has been #rebirth. The featherweight contender explained that concept in-depth during his media session.

“The rebirth is a nature process that the eagle goes through. It’s something that felt very close to heart for me. It’s some difficult changes that I had to make in my personal life to be able to really live the rest of my life the right way,” Ortega said. “For those who don’t know, the eagle lives for 70 years. At the 40-year mark, the eagle loses the sharpness of its beak, the feathers aren’t as good and its talons are weak. So it has a choice: The choice is to die, keep doing what you’re doing, living the way you are. Or isolate yourself way up in the mountains, smash your beak against a rock til it breaks, wait til it grows back, pluck your talons and feathers out and stay in isolation until everything grows back. And then when that process is done, the eagle can live the next 30 years of its life. That process in nature is called the rebirth for the eagle.

“That’s something similar that I went through in my personal life, where I had to sit in isolation and face myself in a way that I never had before. I had to just plug away and be alone for a long time. Now I’m here.”

Ortega didn’t get into specifics about what led to this rebirthing process, but he did admit that it was “painful.”

“I feel like a lot of us we all have things about ourselves that we either hide or we distract,” he said. “We either run from it or we numb ourselves with it. You distract yourself by doing something a lot, or you drink or you smoke. Whatever it is, you distract yourself and you kind of go into this place where you don’t really address these issues that bother you, although you know they’re there. Later on they bite you in the ass. They say you reap what you sow. I definitely ate every bitter freaking fruit that I made my whole life.”

Ortega is also playing it close to the vest when it comes to his plans for his fighting career beyond Saturday night.

“In terms of fighting, I’d like to try to be more present,” he said. “Do I have plans? Of course. Do I reveal them? No. I take things one step at a time. And then we move on to the next move. It’s something that I learned recently and it’s something that I’m adhering to.”

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Brian-Ortega-It-Didnt-Seem-Like-It-Was-the-Same-Volkanovski-at-UFC-298-192693

More news

EVENTS / FIGHTS
Apr
27
2024
UFC ON ESPN 55
Nicolau vs. Perez
May
4
2024
UFC 301
Pantoja vs. Erceg
May
11
2024
UFC ON ESPN 56
Lewis vs. Nascimento
May
18
2024
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 241
Barboza vs. Murphy
Jun
8
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL Europe 2: 2024 Regular Season
Sep
28
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL Europe 3: 2024 Playoffs
May
3
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 22
Jun
7
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga
Jul
5
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 24
Aug
2
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 25
Sep
6
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One 168: Denver
Apr
27
2024
UFC ON ESPN 55
Nicolau vs. Perez
May
3
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 22
May
4
2024
UFC 301
Pantoja vs. Erceg
May
11
2024
UFC ON ESPN 56
Lewis vs. Nascimento
May
18
2024
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 241
Barboza vs. Murphy