Brian Ortega finished Frankie Edgar in dramatic fashion in the early hours of Saturday morning to stake his claim as the number one contender to Max Holloway’s 145lb title.
Ortega is now 6-0 in the UFC, having had his debut win over Mike De La Torre overturned for testing positive for drostanolone.
But in such a short space of time, a star has been born and at UFC 222 in Las Vegas, this was solidified.
It not only throws Ortega into the mix of a potential title-shot contender, he can now be considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the roster.
Too soon? Perhaps. But for a fighter who in his last three fights has gained performance of the night twice, and fight of the night twice, surely this has to be considered a serious thought.
However, do we just eradicate Jose Aldo altogether from this equation? The former champion looks somewhat of a shadow of his former self after the fight against Mcgregor back in 2015 however, the rankings still have Aldo as the number one contender in the 145lb division.
A fight between Aldo and Ortega just does make any sense. Aldo has come up short against champion Holloway twice and therefore will not be getting another title shot anytime soon.
That being said, it only makes sense for Ortega to go and fight the champion, perhaps later this year and without a doubt that makes for a great fight.
The roster sees many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists showcasing their skills but there’s none younger and hungrier to showcase them skills than Ortega, you kind of have to be when your fight-name is “Triangle-City”.
And training under Renner Gracie and having him in your corner for your fights certainly helps, but Ortega is now flying the flag for BJJ in the UFC.
What makes this young star so great is that he has proven he doesn’t just have to rely on his Jiu-Jitsu skills, Ortega has shown he has the skills when standing up, with three of his six finishes being either knockout or TKO.
One of those three finishes happened Saturday night and fans have to realise the calibre of opponent Ortega fought in Edgar. He’d never been finished in his career but it took Ortega just 4.44 of the very first round.
This year has seen some great performances by fighters against ‘grade-A’ style opponents and Ortega has just added his name to that list and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a performance of the year nomination for that performance Saturday night.