Brian Ortega is riding high on top of the world right now.
As for the reason? It’s due to his most recent victory in the Octagon under the UFC banner.
In the co-main event of Saturday’s (March 3, 2018) UFC 222 event on pay-per-view at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ortega scored a big victory over former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
UFC President Dana White has already made it known in interviews after the fight that Ortega would be the next challenger for the featherweight title currently held by Max Holloway, who was originally supposed to face Edgar in the main event of UFC 222.
Appearing on The MMA Hour on Monday, Ortega gave insight into his motivation leading into this fight against the MMA legend.
So what was that motivation? Well, it came from his inner circle, and his brother was the driving force behind his upset over the former UFC champion.
“The energy was fun with him this week,” Ortega said (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “Actually, right before the fight, he was with me all week sleeping in my room and just hanging out with me, and he fell asleep on me.
“We’re both sleeping and I’m getting my rest before the fight and I looked down and I woke up and I looked at him and I go: ‘You better not f’ing fail this kid.’ I remember telling myself, ‘You better not f’ing fail this kid.’ He was a big motivation for me this weekend.”
“My boxing coach James Luhrsen and I really trained hard, we even called it, we’re going to catch him with this uppercut. I said the way he is and he comes in that uppercut’s going to land,” Ortega said. “I can remember during the training camp, we would go and train, just me and him, and we would do 10 five-minute rounds and just drill the hell out of these things. To the point where I’m like, ‘Come on dude, that’s enough uppercut-left hook. You can’t do 10 rounds of uppercut-left hook.’ As a coach, now I see, okay you were right. I always hate saying you were right, but you were right.
“Every single fight I’ve always tried to land something, but especially my uppercuts they just fall short, and this time I feel with – I don’t know how many rounds we did of training that with my coach, but when I see it, I could just imagine the mitt versus his chin and I just threw that uppercut and timed it right.”