Max Holloway, a featherweight champ put the main event of UFC 222 in jeopardy, when he announced he has suffered an injury that will prevent him from defending his title against Frankie Edgar.
After days of search, UFC was able to find Edgar a new opponent in surging UFC featherweight contender Brian Ortega.
Edgar last fought in May of 2017, when he defeated Yair Rodriguez via TKO. Now, it’s likely Max Holloway won’t return to Octagon until the summer, which means Edgar would have been out of action for over a year if he chose to sit around and wait for a champion.
That just didn’t sit well with Edgar, which is why he was so willing to risk a title shot so he could get back into the Octagon sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately for Edgar, no title will be on the line. Not even an interim title.
Well, Edgar appeared on the latest edition of “The MMA Hour,” and explained why he accept the short notice fight with Ortega.(Via MMAFighting)
“I was pissed, man,” Edgar admitted to host Ariel Helwani. “Obviously we were supposed to get down in December and I got injured, and now here we go, he gets injured, so it’s just unfortunate. It’s the way things go. I was bummed for a little bit, a little bit depressed, but you know, I got over it, man. I just wanted to stay on the card. I’m itching to fight, it’s been too long, so here we are. Now we’ve got to fight Ortega.”
“Man, I haven’t fought since May. I just didn’t want to wait,” Edgar said. “Time’s ticking and I want to get in there. Last time I got (hurt), I think, three weeks before the fight, so I have a bunch of camps under myself and no fight to show for it, so I just want to go in there and put my skills to use. I only get paid if I fight, so I definitely want to get in there.
“I’m glad it was Ortega, because it makes the most sense,” Edgar added. “He’s No. 3, right under me, and that actually makes the most sense for the division. But yeah, at that point, man, I was just wanting to make sure I had someone to fight.”
Frankie Edgar also touched on the challenges presented by his new foe. Edgar hopes everything goes well against Ortega at UFC 222 so he can book his bout with Holloway as soon as the featherweight king is healed and ready to go.
He’s game. He’s about as game as it gets,” Edgar said of Ortega. “He’s not scared to sit there and throw with the best of them. He’s got a very slick guard, dangerous jiu-jitsu game. So he’s a dangerous opponent and I’ve got to give him credit to jump on this fight on short notice. But I think he got a new contract, he could take my spot, so he has a lot of things on the table that could get going for him too.
“Holloway’s no joke either on his back and with his submission game, and their body types are very similar, so it wasn’t too much of a change,” Edgar added. “And I’ve got (coaches) Ricardo Almeida and Mark Henry in my corner always adjusting things as we go, so I know I’m confident in my preparation and what these guys have been working on.”
“I take pride that I win when people don’t think I’m gonna,” Edgar said. “I don’t think like, ‘Oh, I’m going to ruin this guy’s plans,’ or anything like that. I just want to make sure my plans stay intact, and that’s what I do: Go out there and just try to win fights. I don’t care if I’m fighting a guy that I’m supposed to beat, not supposed to beat, younger, older. The objective is still the same, I want to go in there and win.”
UFC 222 is set to take place on March 3, 2018, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.