UFC contender Brian Ortega fights to make a difference

UFC featherweight contender Brian Ortega is far from perfect despite his undefeated record.

He’s the first to admit he has veered off course a time or two in his life, particularly as a troubled poverty-stricken adolescent in San Pedro, California.

He might enjoy a party a little too much, and there was a positive steroid test after his first UFC fight in 2014.

Ortega has made plenty of mistakes in his 27 years and knows he will make plenty more, yet none of them has caused him to lose focus on his goal of making the world a better place.

He hopes to spread the message and knows the more success he has as a fighter, the more his words will resonate.

“Anyone who has ever tried to do something good will tell you that you need attention to help the cause,” Ortega said Thursday in advance of his bout against former champion Frankie Edgar on the main card of UFC 222 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

“The way I look at it, the more I fight and the more I win, the more my message will be shared with the world. I want different types of platforms, and right now, fighting is the biggest platform I have. Helping people that are down and out is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This is why I want to be world champion. I want to help make the world a better place.”

Ortega is in the process of establishing a foundation in his name and hopes to use it to help those in need. He also wants to encourage others to try to make a difference in their community.

“I just want people to realize that it doesn’t take much to be a good person,” he said. “Simple things is all it takes. Buy someone food every once in a while. You don’t have to do it all the time, and you don’t have to be a perfect person to make a difference. … If it’s in your heart, it’s in your heart.”

Ortega hasn’t shown as much compassion to his opponents. He has finished all six of his UFC foes, though his first victory was changed to a no-contest after the positive drug test.

Edgar presents the biggest test of his career, but Ortega says he’s ready after a spectacular win over longtime contender Cub Swanson in December.

The victory gave him the confidence to accept this bout on short notice after champion Max Holloway pulled out of a title defense against Edgar, whom Ortega calls a “legend.”

“This opportunity means so much to me,” Ortega said. “It’s something I’ve always trained for and dreamed about. Nobody expected me to finish Cub Swanson the way I did. When you see something like that, even I say, ‘You’re finally here. You’re not only hanging with the best of the best, you’re finishing them.’ ”

He’ll get another chance against Edgar, who is risking the title shot he has already earned.

“I just want to fight,” Edgar said. “It’s been awhile since I was in there. I’m not going to sit there and wait and then something else happens. I could wait for Max and then I could get hurt or he could get hurt again.”

The bout is part of a 7 p.m. pay-per-view card headlined by a women’s featherweight title bout between Yana Kunitskaya and champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The first bout is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing