A performance of the night calibre showing at UFC 222 this past weekend saw Brian Ortega (14-0) knocked out perennial contender Frankie Edgar (22-6-1) in the first round of the late scheduled featherweight co-main event. With such an outstanding performance the only logical progression for the rising star at this point was surely a title shot. Although it comes as no surprise, this has now been confirmed as the call to Ortega from UFC President Dana White was shared via the GracieBreakdown Youtube channel to which Ortega is affiliated.
This confirmation shows the fight will be going ahead but the date for the fight has yet to be announced. Post-fight Saturday night Holloway tweeted at the UFC hinting at a date or rather event that he clearly has in mind for his return to the octagon.
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) March 4, 2018
This date falls on July 7th which coincides with both international fight week and the 4th July celebratory weekend which historically has been a popular time for headline UFC fixtures. This fight would likely be the co-main event to the already confirmed heavyweight super fight between light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, with the rest of the card still to be confirmed. This will mean that Holloway has been absent from the octagon for 7 months after his last victory against Jose Aldo in early December. Holloway, an active champion, would have made a defence of the title sooner but was made to withdraw from UFC 222 due to a leg injury sustained in training. This also gives Ortega 4 months preparation time, notably longer than the months notice he was given to prepare against Edgar as a replacement to the injured Holloway.
When the unbeaten streak of Ortega is put on the line against one of the longest active win streaks in Holloway, it is set to be a thrilling fight that very few would have predicted being scheduled this early in the year. With a super fight announced and this teased UFC 226 is beginning to take shape as a must watch for all MMA fans.