It is unknown when the champion will return from his health issues, which is why Ortega would like to see Holloway vacate the featherweight strap.
“From what I’m getting now, they said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight 145. So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples, but let’s get that situated,” Ortega said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
Jeremy Stephens was one of the fighters who were willing to step in on short notice to fight Ortega (or Frankie Edgar) at UFC 226, but Ortega turned down the opportunity.
The featherweight contender still wants to fight Ortega, whom the fighter accuses of ducking him.
“I told Dana that I will go to that kid’s mama’s house in L.A. and fight him in his front yard. I’ll fight him August 4, why not? Jose Aldo lost two title fights, he is out. I’ve been in the sport 11 years, putting on dominant performances, why not give him to me right now? Let’s set it up for September 8,” Stephens said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “This kid is ducking me. Whether I fight Jose or not, they can pull me off this card and I will fight this kid in L.A. on August 4. I will go to his backyard, fight him there and pull his gangster card. I saw on Embedded where he is talking about he used to show up to domes and bar fights where you look at a guy, you are the same weight and you fought. Well I don’t know if he was there with his little jiu-jitsu crew watching guys like me who actually stepped up and fought grown men when I was 16 years old and I wasn’t even supposed to be there. That was me, I was really living that type of life. I do this shit for fun, because I love it."
Stephens is still scheduled to fight former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC on Fox 30, while Ortega doesn’t have another fight announced at this time.