The landscape of the UFC featherweight division has changed drastically since Conor McGregor absconded from the 145-pound weight class.

Most notably, the ascension of Max Holloway and Brian Ortega through the featherweight ranks has reinvigorated a weight class that had been under McGregor’s control prior to the Irishman’s departure for lightweight and catchweight glory, and now, boxing and legal issues due to his April 5 Brooklyn arrest.

However, that won’t stop fighters from understandably imitating his style, and Ortega has noticed a slew of McGregor imitators in “The Notorious’” absence. During a recent media appearance, the 27-year-old contender called them out for their unoriginality (via MMA Junkie):

“There’s only one Conor. Everybody who’s tried to be like Conor, you can tell they’re just fronting.

“You can easily see, you can tell by the way the go in there – you’re just like, ‘Come on. Shut up.’”

“For me, I’m just me. That’s what I realized the best thing to be is. When I talk to people, they’re like, especially getting into the sport, (they’re like), ‘Oh, you’ve got to be a character. You’ve got to be this.’ And my coach told – and I don’t know if I can cuss or not – but he goes, ‘F-ck that.’ He’s like, ‘Just be you, bro. You don’t have to lie on the thing. You don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to remember some thing you made up before.’ He goes, ‘Just be you, and you can’t go wrong with being you.’

“So that’s what we did, and I’m happy I stuck to it, man. Because I’m just me. If I ever get pissed off, I’m legitimately pissed off. So far it hasn’t happened.”

UFC President Dana White has often told the press that fighters should look to emulate McGregor’s style of self-promotion, which helps to explain the influx of characters like Colby Covington and Dillon Danis, who seem to be reading directly from the Conor McGregor playbook.

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For Ortega, it’s his performances that do the promotion, not the trash talk. Ortega became the first man to ever knock out the ever-durable Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March.

Do you agree with Ortega’s assessment of McGregor imitators flooding the UFC and MMA in general?

Matt McNulty is a writer & reporter for LowKick MMA. He has previously worked as a staff writer for, a crime and MMA reporter for the New York Post, and also as a general assignment reporter for the New York Daily News. McNulty has professionally covered MMA since 2013.