MMA/UFC

Brian Ortega addresses Alexander Volkanovski’s shocking loss: ‘It didn’t seem like it was the same Volk’

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UFC 266: Volkanovski v Ortega
Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Brian Ortega doesn’t believe Ilia Topuria fought the same Alexander Volkanovski that he did nearly three years ago.

This past Saturday, Topuria knocked out Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 298 to claim the featherweight title. It was the 35-year-old veteran’s first ever loss in the weight class and as a man who previously faced the now ex-featherweight champion, Ortega says that that he’s not sure that was the same Volkanovski he had to square off against.

“It just got shuffled last week, bro!” Ortega when asked about the state of the featherweight division during his UFC Mexico City media day scrum. “Props to Ilia. He won. That was an impressive, very, very devastating KO that he got.

“For Volk, I’m trying to look at it from both perspectives. Either Topuria’s game plan was really good, staying calm, moving back, throwing power punches, and then Volk — to me — it didn’t seem like it was the same Volk. Then seeing him and being in front of him, I’m like, man, you’re moving different. But obviously he adjusts for every opponent he has, so who knows? But I am curious to see what’s going to happen now in the featherweight division.”

Ortega challenged Volkanovski for the featherweight title at UFC 266 in 2021, losing a unanimous decision, though he nearly pulled off an incredible submission in the third round.

Unfortunately for Ortega, Topuria’s win could be bad for him. Even before winning the title, “El Matador” claimed that he would not give title shots to any of the fighters who fell short against Volkanovski, instead saying they could “all go and retire.” But Ortega does not seem to be too bothered by that.

“My answer is always, ‘We’ll see,’” Ortega said. “We’ll see.”

First things first, Ortega has his own business to attend to before he can think about Topuria or title shots. This weekend, “T-City” rematches Yair Rodriguez in the five round co-main event of UFC Mexico City. Their first fight ended in controversy after a shoulder injury in the first round rendered Ortega unable to continue, and now, nearly two years later, he finally makes his return, and he’s anticipating a barnburner.

“Basically, we just started getting warmed up,” Ortega said of the first fight. “We were very dry, still trying to feel each other out, got ahold of each other, hit each other a little bit, felt each other’s strength. It was still partially in that feel out session, so it’s going to now be two rounds of that feel out session and then an extra added four after that. It’s going to be a good fight.”

UFC Mexico City takes place this Saturday at Arena CDMX in Mexico City.

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