Brian Martin Ortega (born February 21, 1991) is an American mixed martial artist in the featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A professional since 2010, he has also competed for the RFA, where he was the Featherweight Champion. As of February 25, 2019, he is #2 in the UFC featherweight rankings.
Ortega was born in Los Angeles, California; he's of Mexican descent and possesses dual nationality, as both his parents are from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. He grew up in section 8 housing project of San Pedro, California. Brian started learning martial arts when he was 5 years old at Al Martinez Muay Thai Kickboxing in Wilmington, CA. When he turned 13, he began training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy under Rorion Gracie, and his sons Ryron, Rener, and Ralek Gracie in Torrance, California.
Mixed martial arts career
When Ortega was 17, he met boxing coach James Luhrsen, who took him in and trained him in striking skills. Ortega began his career competing for regional promotions exclusively in Southern California. He won his first pro-MMA championship against Carlos Garces in a five-round bout via unanimous decision, becoming the Respect In The Cage featherweight champion.
Ortega went on to compile an undefeated record of 8-0 before signing with the UFC in April 2014. He credited his success to support and love from James Luhrsen and Rener Gracie.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Ortega was expected to make his promotional debut against Diego Brandão on May 31, 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale. However, Brandao pulled out of the bout in the days leading up to the event citing an injury. Due to the late nature of the change, officials did not try to find a replacement and Ortega was pulled from the card as well.
Ortega eventually made his debut on July 26, 2014, at UFC on Fox 12 against Mike De La Torre. Originally, a first round submission (rear-naked choke) win for Ortega, the result was changed to "No Contest" after Ortega tested positive for drostanolone during a post fight screening. Subsequently, Ortega was fined $2,500 and suspended for nine months.
Ortega faced Thiago Tavares on June 6, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 68. He won the back-and-forth fight via TKO in the third round. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Ortega faced Diego Brandão, who is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, on January 2, 2016, at UFC 195. After being down against Diego's striking for the first two rounds, Ortega rallied and won via triangle choke in the third round.
At UFC 199 on June 4, 2016, Ortega defeated Clay Guida by KO in the third round. After winning the first round, Guida won the second round and looked to have the third won until Ortega rallied and won via a flying knee near the end of the round.
Ortega next faced Renato Moicano on July 29, 2017, at UFC 214. He won the back and forth fight via submission in the third round with a guillotine choke, while both fighters were awarded Fight of the Night bonus.
Ortega faced Cub Swanson on December 9, 2017, at UFC Fight Night 123. He was victorious in the fight, winning in the second round by guillotine choke submission. The finish put Ortega's streak at five straight fights won with a finish, which at the time was the second longest current win streak in the UFC featherweight division behind the champion, Max Holloway. The win also earned him the Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night honors.
Ortega faced Frankie Edgar on March 3, 2018, at UFC 222. He won the fight via knockout in the first round. In doing so, he became the first man to ever finish Edgar in MMA. This win earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.
Ortega was scheduled to face Max Holloway for the UFC Featherweight Championship on July 7, 2018, at UFC 226. However, on July 4, Holloway was pulled from the fight due to "concussion like symptoms". Hence, Ortega scratched from the fight after Holloway's withdrawal.
The fight against Max Holloway eventually took place on December 8, 2018, in the main event at UFC 231. Ortega lost the fight by doctor stoppage at the end of the fourth round. This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award.
Ortega was scheduled to face Chan Sung Jung on December 21, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 23. However, Ortega pulled out of the fight in early December citing a knee injury.
Championships and accomplishments
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- World MMA Awards
- 2017 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year
- 2015 June Fight of the Month
- Resurrection Fighting Alliance
- RFA Featherweight Champion (one time)
UFC 248 Incident
On March 8, 2020, a police report was filed against Ortega for alleged slapping Korean American rapper Jay Park, translator for Chan Sung Jung (Korean Zombie), at UFC 248 after Jung left to use the washroom. Jung posted a statement on social media following the incident saying "Last night, you sat 10 meters away from me and Jay Park. For two hours nothing happened, so I thought everything was fine. But you fucking attacked Jay Park while I went to the bathroom. Jay Park is not a professional fighter but a musician. You slapped a civilian who merely helped translate [...] Even worse, you were sitting there waiting until I would be absent and attacked Jay Park. It was not a fight like real men would do. What you have done is same as a grown up to beat a child. You should have attacked me. If so, I would have not been upset.You are such a coward for slapping a musician not a fighter."
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|17 matches||15 wins||1 loss|
|Loss||14–1 (1)||Max Holloway||TKO (doctor stoppage)||UFC 231||December 8, 2018||4||5:00||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||For the UFC Featherweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||14–0 (1)||Frankie Edgar||KO (punch)||UFC 222||March 3, 2018||1||4:44||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||13–0 (1)||Cub Swanson||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega||December 9, 2017||2||3:22||Fresno, California, United States||Performance of the Night. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||12–0 (1)||Renato Moicano||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 214||July 29, 2017||3||2:59||Anaheim, California, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||11–0 (1)||Clay Guida||KO (knee)||UFC 199||June 4, 2016||3||4:40||Inglewood, California, United States|
|Win||10–0 (1)||Diego Brandão||Submission (triangle choke)||UFC 195||January 2, 2016||3||1:37||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||9–0 (1)||Thiago Tavares||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson||June 6, 2015||3||4:10||New Orleans, Louisiana, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|NC||8–0 (1)||Mike De La Torre||NC (overturned)||UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown||July 26, 2014||1||1:39||San Jose, California, United States||Originally a submission (rear-naked choke) win for Ortega; overturned after he tested positive for drostanolone.|
|Win||8–0||Keoni Koch||Decision (split)||RFA 12||January 24, 2014||5||5:00||Los Angeles, California, United States||Won the RFA Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||7–0||Jordan Rinaldi||Submission (triangle choke)||RFA 9||August 6, 2013||3||2:29||Pomona, California, United States|
|Win||6–0||Thomas Guimond||Submission (triangle choke)||Respect In The Cage 20||May 4, 2013||1||4:02||Pomona, California, United States||Defended the RTC Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||5–0||Carlos Garces||Decision (unanimous)||Respect In The Cage 10||March 12, 2011||5||5:00||Pomona, California, United States||Won the RTC Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||4–0||Chris Mercado||Decision (unanimous)||Respect In The Cage 9||January 15, 2011||3||5:00||Pomona, California, United States|
|Win||3–0||Vincent Martinez||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Respect In The Cage 5||July 24, 2010||1||1:54||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||2–0||Amir Fattakhov||Decision (unanimous)||Gladiator Challenge: Bad Behaviour||June 27, 2010||3||5:00||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Win||1–0||John Sassone||Submission (triangle choke)||Gladiator Challenge: Maximum Force||April 25, 2010||1||1:48||San Jacinto, California, United States|