With the fight brewing for more than a year, Brian Ortega can’t wait to get his hands on Chan Sung Jung.
Ortega (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Jung finally will get to lock horns in the UFC’s Oct. 17 main event in a pivotal featherweight clash that will likely determine the next No. 1 contender.
Originally scheduled to square off in December 2019 in South Korea, Ortega was forced out due to a knee injury. Jung went under the knife for eye surgery in February, and when COVID-19 hit, travel restrictions pushed the fight, which is expected to take place at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, to an even later date.
The two have been trading barbs for a while, including a confrontation between Ortega and Jung’s friend and manager, Korean rapper Jay Park, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas while both were in attendance for UFC 248 in March.
Ortega was unhappy with some of the things Park said when translating Jung’s words, which included accusations of Ortega ducking him. So when Ortega saw Park, he confronted him and slapped him in the face, which resulted in him being escorted out of the arena.
While things have gotten testy between the two featherweights, Ortega insists it’s not too personal for him. His emotions got the best of him when confronting Park, but that’s just how he’s used to dealing with situations like those.
“(It’s) not personal at all,” Ortega told MMA Junkie. “I handled my moment, I did what I did, and that was it. I don’t think about it too much. I don’t think about it on the daily. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t look at that as bad blood or anything. Like Logan Paul said, even after I did my incident, I walked past him and I was very calm. But man: Talk (expletive), get hit. That’s where I come from. The Diaz brothers are not the only ones from a city where if you’re acting a certain way, you get slapped. As much as you grow up and try to learn things and do better, sometimes it comes out – and it came out.
“It’s not too personal. It’s basically semi-personal. Usually, you sign a contract and you fight someone and you understand that that’s your opponent and you have respect for them. But me and him lost respect for each other, and now I guess if you want to call it personal, it’s personal. But it’s more of someone I don’t like that I want to hit in the face that I get to without going to jail.”
Stylistically, the matchup between Ortega and Jung (16-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) pits two of the most prolific finishers in the division, and Ortega is expecting fireworks on the night.
“A slugfest basically,” Ortega said. “Me and him kind of already have our thing where we want to hit each other in the face. So honestly, I just see a slugfest and some technical work. But yeah – we kind of don’t like each other.”
On the other side of the featherweight bracket is a three-round matchup between rising contenders Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez, which is targeted for UFC 254, just a week after Ortega and Jung fight.
But as far as Ortega is concerned, his fight with “The Korean Zombie” will produce the next title challenger.
“From what I’ve heard, and I’ve posted on my social media and Dana White’s said it himself – he said the winner of this fight gets the shot to fight for the belt,” Ortega said. “I don’t make the rules. I don’t do nothing – it came straight from the horse’s mouth. I’ve never heard him talk about anybody else having a title shot after their fight. I heard it from this fight.”