Brian Ortega responds to 'funny' joke over top five ranking

UFC Mexico City: Brian Ortega responds to 'funny' joke over top five ranking
Brian Ortega celebrates his victory by submission against Renato Moicano during UFC 214 at Honda Center. | Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

Brian Ortega returns to UFC Mexico City

After nearly two years, Brian Ortega returns against Yair Rodriguez (again) at CFU Mexico City this Saturday. Since his most recent Octagon appearance, a lot has changed in the division. A new champion was crowned after Ilia Topuria finished Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 this past Saturday. A new group of challengers, including Movsar Evloevhave emerged as potential options for a championship opportunity.

However, throughout those changes, something remained the same. Ortega has stayed within the top five of the division, situated above Evloev and below Rodriguez.

Ortega responds to joke over maintaining ranking despite inactivity

Following his win against Arnold Allen at UFC 297 in January, Movsar Evloev finally found himself in the top five. That said, the American Top Team talent noticed that he was below Brian Ortega, who has not won a fight since 2020 — a decision against Chan Sung Jung. Evloev responded with this quip:

“In the year 2040, Ortega has not won/fought for over a decade, but in rankings, he is still a top 5 featherweight in the world,” posted Evloev on X (formerly Twitter).

On Wednesday, Ortega responded to Evloev.

“It’s a funny one,” said Ortega during his media day ahead of UFC Mexico City. “It's funny. That's it. I'm not going to — I'm here. I'm fighting. I'm back. Like I said, we’ll see.”

Brian Ortega (red gloves) fights Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at UBS Arena.
Brian Ortega (red gloves) fights Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at UBS Arena. | Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

Ortega briefly considered retirement ahead of return

In his first fight against Yair Rodriguez at UFC on ABC: Ortega vs. Rodriguez in 2022, Brian Ortega suffered a shoulder injury. That required surgery, which not only left 'T-City' sitting on the sidelines but also left him questioning whether he could continue with his career.

Ortega said there was a time when he considered a potential retirement, especially after undergoing more surgeries in his near two-year hiatus.

“I would be lying if I said the question didn't come up, 'Is it still worth it?',” Ortega said in an interview with Kevin Iole. “For the first time in my life, I understood what they meant when people said, 'I have kids. I can't do this any more.' I used to think, 'Come on, man! Of course we can. We're mentally strong.'

“I think what is smart about some of these people is that look at the long run, right? If I'm moving already like I'm 60 years old, how am I really going to move when I'm 60? How are my kids going to be and how is it going to be on them? How's it going to be on my family?

“I would be lying if I said the thought didn't come up as I was doing a tally of all of the surgeries I've had.”

Now that he has rid himself of any retirement thoughts, the goal is simple for Ortega: return, win against Yair Rodriguez and set himself up for another championship opportunity. Ortega earned his first in 2018 after finishing top-tier names such as Clay Guida, Renato Moicano, Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar. He went up against Max Hollowaywho handily defeated Ortega to defend his championship.

Since then, Ortega has fought three times, which included another championship loss in 2021, this time to Alexander Volkanovski.

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About the author

Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen created 'Fright of the Night,' a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in sport.

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