Brian “T-City” Ortega – A Star Inside And Outside Of The Octagon

Fighter Profile, Background, Highlights, Prediction, and The Brian Ortega Foundation


Fighter Profile

Name: Brian Martin Ortega

Born: San Pedro, Los Angeles, California

Date Of Birth: February 21, 1991

Nickname: T-City

Record: 14-0-1 NC

Height: 5 ft. 8 in.

Weight: 145 lbs.

Reach: 74 in.

Fighting Out Of: Torrance, California

Teams: Black Belt Surfing, Black House MMA, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Division: Featherweight (Currently ranked the number 1 UFC Featherweight)

Promotions: Gladiator Challenge, Respect In The Cage, RFA, UFC

Promotion Breakdown And Record

Gladiator Challenge: 2-0-0 (1 submission, 1 decision)

Respect In The Cage:  4-0-1 (2 submissions, 2 decision) (won and defended featherweight title)

RFA: 2-0-0 (2 submissions) (won featherweight title)

UFC: 6-0-1 (3 submissions, 2 KO/TKO, 1 No Contest) 
(3 Fight Of The Night Bonuses, 2 Performance Of The Night Bonuses)


Ortega was born in Los Angeles, California in 1991. He is of Mexican descent as both of his parents are from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. He is also in possession of dual nationality. Ortega grew up and was raised in a section 8 housing project of San Pedro, California. He also had 13 brothers and sisters.  At the age of 5, he began learning martial arts. A once four time expelled street fighter had fallen into the wrong crowd. With everything he had gone through growing up the one thing he knew is that he loved to fight. That love for fighting gave him a purpose. At the age of 13, he ventured into Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy under Rorion Gracie and his sons Ryron, Rener, Ralek Gracie in Torrence California. He offered to clean the mats, wash towels, and help in any way possible, in exchange for lessons in the Brazilian martial art. It was on this day the birth of a star had happened. While you never wish a tough beginning on any child his past is what made him the man and fighter that he is today and the world is a better place for it.

Early MMA Career

When Ortega was 17, he met boxing coach James Luhrsen, who took him in and trained him in the fine points of striking. Ortega would compete in regional promotions exclusive to the Southern California area. April 25, 2010, Ortega would go on to start his professional career for Gladiator Challenge winning via triangle choke in the very first round. Roughly 2 months later he would secure his second win under the promotion via decision before fighting under respect in the cage. March of 2011 Ortega would secure his first professional championship under the Respect in the cage flag with a unanimous decision win. In May of 2013, he would defend his title via round 1 submission before starting his time with RFA. Between August of 2013 and January of 2014, Ortega would secure two more wins and another championship belt.

Ortega compiled an impressive 8-0 resume before the UFC signed him in April of 2014.

UFC Career

Ortega was expected to make his promotional debut against Diego Brandao on May 31, 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Finale, but Brandao pulled out of the bout just days before the fight was going to take place due to an injury. Due to time restraints, no replacement was looked for and Ortega was also pulled from the card and his UFC debut.

July 26, 2014, he was finally making his UFC debut against Mike De La Torre at UFC on Fox 12. The original result was a win for Ortega via first round submission (rear-naked choke). Unfortunately, the fight was overturned into a no contest due to Ortega failing a post-fight substance screening. Ortega was fined $2,500 and suspended for nine months.

June 6, 2015, at UFC Fight night 68 Ortega would face Thiago Tavares. A back and forth battle took place with Ortega emerging victorious via round 3 TKO. Both men were awarded Fight of the Night bonus and honors.

January 2, 2016, at UFC 195 Ortega would finally meet a healthy Diego Brandao. Brandao managed to get the better of Ortega for the first two rounds using his striking. Being the competitor that he is Ortega was able to rally and secure a triangle choke submission win in the third round. Diego Brandao is also a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

June 4, 2016, at UFC 199 Ortega would face the grizzled veteran Clay Guida. Ortega would take control early and win round 1. Guida would bounce back and win round 2. Guida appeared to be winning the third round as well until Ortega landed a flying knee and secure a knockout victory near the rounds end.

October 1, 2016, Ortega was lined up for his return to the octagon at UFC Fight Night 96. He was scheduled to face Hacran Dias but was forced to pull out in early September due to injury.

July 29, 2017, at UFC 214 Ortega faced the undefeated and very dangerous Renato Moicano who was 11-0 at the time. The fight was everything fans could have asked for, but Ortega was on the winning end of this one as well. In the third round, he was able to secure a guillotine choke and another submission win. Both men were awarded fight of the night bonuses.

December 9, 2017, at UFC Fight Night 123 Ortega would face his toughest challenge to date in Cub Swanson. The fighter was different but the results were the same. Ortega would win his fifth straight fight with a finish via guillotine choke in round number 2. This would sit him at number two for the longest current UFC win streak in the featherweight division behind current champion Max Holloway. He also was awarded Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night honors.

March 3, 2018, Ortega would face a fan favorite, former champion, and resurging featherweight Frankie Edgar. Ortega would show a different side of himself in this fight. He was able to finish Edgar via knockout in the first round. In doing so, he accomplished three things. First was that his striking game is world class. Second is he is the first man to finish Edgar in an MMA fight. The third and most important would be a title shot against Max Holloway. He also took home yet another Performance of the night bonus.

Brian Ortega was scheduled to face Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018. Everything was lining up better than it could have been planned until July 4, 2018. He was informed that Holloway would be pulled from the card due to “concussion-like symptoms”.

Ortega would then scratch from the card after Holloway’s withdraw. There may have been some upset people surrounding this decision, but let’s face it Ortega made the right choice. Edgar in an attempt to remain on a fight card accepted the Ortega fight when current champion Max Holloway had to pull out their meeting. This decision moved him out and Ortega into a title spot. Ortega has dedicated his life to combat sports. He has done everything he needed to and his shot was finally here. Anything can happen in a fight and it is not worth the risk of your lives work to take a short notice fight. While Jeremy Stephens was ready to step in I commend Brain Ortega for keeping his course and waiting for the title shot he has earned.

Highlight Video  

Outside Of The Octagon

T-City has been doing great things even outside of the octagon. He has started the Brain Ortega Foundation which benefits people in need. His main goal with the creation of this foundation is to inspire people of all ages to Be the Change. Be the change you’d like to see in this world. His foundation is a nonprofit organization completely run by unpaid volunteers. 100% of proceeds raised through this foundation are donated back to our community and beyond. He also has the T-City Scholarship which is a full-tuition scholarship good for one year of training at any Certified Gracie jiu-jitsu Training Center in the world, including Gracie University Headquarters where Brian Ortega trains and teaches. Although he intends to broaden the scope of the scholarship in the future.

More information on The Brian Ortega Foundation or the T-City Scholarship program please click here.

Max “Blessed” Holloway 19-3 (15-3 UFC)


Brian “T-City” Ortega 14-0- 1NC (6-0 1 NC UFC)

A match-up that was just meant to be. Holloway has suffered his fair share of injuries and medical issues. One thing we can not questions is his love for the sport of MMA and his will to win. Recently slated to face Frankie “The Answer” Edgar Holloway was sidelined due to injury. Edgar made the decision to take on rising sensation Brian “T-City” Ortega and risk his title shot. With nothing to gain and everything to lose Edgar was finished for the first time in his professional career. Ortega was then lined up to face Holloway, but another medical issue arose. Ortega seeing how history has not been kind to fighters in this position opted to not take a secondary fight with Jeremy Stephens. This leads us to what could be the fight of the year. Slated for UFC 231 these two warriors will grace the Octagon and when the smoke clears a featherweight champion will leave the arena. Will, it be And Still or And New?

Let’s break down the skill sets and make a prediction for this barn burner of a fight.


While Ortega has been on top of the submission win hill he recently showcased his striking abilities. While they have always been there he has been left to many openings in previous fights and with his high-level ground game, there was never a reason to not take them. In the UFC he does have 3 finishes via KO/TKO under his belt. He also was able to finish Frankie Edgar in this fashion, a man who has never been finished until Brian Ortega had his chance. Max Holloway, on the other hand, has a history of wanting to stand and “BANG”. This is not a secret to anyone. Holloway has no issue of getting in there and letting his hands go and having his opponent do the same. He will give you something to hit knowing you will have to return the favor. While I think Ortega has more targeted striking and is showing his progression every time he steps into the cage I will have to side with the longer history in this winning fashion along with more UFC experience.

Striking goes to Holloway.


This is a tough attribute to pick. Both men like to fight, move forward, and finish. In an effort to not drag this particular topic on I will call this a tie. You know they will both show up and fight.

Aggression is a tie.


Holloway and Ortega have both been in the deep waters of fights. They have both gone into final rounds down on the scorecards and they have both dug deep and found a way to win. Ortega has yet to taste defeat in his career and that is partly due to his ability to absorb damage and find his opening. I am picking the winner in this department and it is by a sliver.

Durability goes to Ortega.


This is a category that also hard to decide. While both men have a legitimate jiu-jitsu background you don’t see as much pure wrestling. Ortega is a ninja when he is taking you down. Holloway very rarely is on the mat and has great takedown defense. Ortega, on the other hand, has been able to score takedowns almost at will. Great takedowns versus great defense.

Grappling is a tie. Holloway better defense Ortega better offence.

Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu:

I never want to pick anything and say there is a big margin, but I am going to have to do that here. Holloway has a great jiu-jitsu game there is no denying it. Ortega, on the other hand, is the next level of that game. Watch his fights and it is almost an impossible argument.

Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu goes to Ortega.

Level of competition:

Oddly enough the only high-level opponent they have in common is Cub Swanson. They both were able to finish Swanson via submission and both via guillotine. Ortega got it done a round faster. Holloway was able to finish former featherweight king Jose Aldo twice in a row which is no easy task. The only negative to that is that it was an aging Aldo who didn’t quite have the spark of old. Holloway was also able to finish Anthony Pettis and take decisions over Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens. Ortega also has a list of wins over higher level competition. He has in facts cored finishes over Cub Swanson which was mentioned, Frankie Edgar (first time in Edgar’s career), Renato Carneiro, Clay Guida, and Diego Brandao. With all things considered….

Level of competition goes to Ortega.

Will this fight be amazing? Yes! Will it have fireworks and high-level skill in every area? Yes! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. Taking everything into account my prediction would be…..

Brain “T-City” Ortega via submission (guillotine choke) early in round number 4.

Brian Ortega is a star inside and outside of the octagon. The scary part is he has not even reached his max potential. Could we be in the era of the next long time champions on a collision course with greatness? Only time will tell. Until then keep your eyes open and have at least one of them watching T-City. Signing off for and Combat Insiders.

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