ABU DHABI – Brian Ortega is picking up right where he left off.
The former UFC title challenger takes on top contender Chan Sung Jung this Saturday in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 38. The bout marks Ortega’s (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) first fight back since losing to then champion Max Holloway in a wild brawl in December 2018.
Injuries and the coronavirus pandemic have kept Ortega out of action for almost two years. Many hoped the 29-year-old would ease his way back into competition for his return and not fight the top of the division right away.
“T-City” understands the sentiment but said he doesn’t need a tuneup.
“This was all about coming back, taking a fight that’s not easy, because when something like this happens it’s like, ‘Oh, lets rebuild him again or do something.’” Ortega told reporters, including MMA Junkie, in a pre-fight media scrum Wednesday. “And I was like, I don’t need rebuilding in the fight world. I need rebuilding in the training world, and I got my rebuilding in the training in the world.
“I’m in this sport to fight the best; that’s why I love this (explicit). Let’s test your world against mine. Let’s test your chess pieces against mine. Let’s go to war. Ultimately the fans win. Everyone wins. Fighters can tell you: We love fighting, we love testing our will, and we get paid for it. So this is beautiful.”
Ortega said he’s improved his striking for his return and is excited to get back in the cage. And although Ortega has added new tools to his arsenal, he expects anything and everything from the “Korean Zombie” and won’t shy away from another war like fans witnessed in his last outing against Holloway.
“I will take whatever I can get,” Ortega explained. “If I get a quick knockout or a quick submission, the name of the game is win. Obviously, you can tell I’m emotional, so it might go to a war. I might piss my team off, but (explicit) it.”