Brian Ortega dismantles Chan Sung Jung in return to the Octagon
The last time we saw Brian Ortega at the Octagon, it was a championship fight, albeit one-sidedly lost. On Saturday, 22 months after losing to Max Holloway in a featherweight title bout in Toronto, Ortega looked like a master mining Chan Sung Jung, aka "The Korean Zombie," in Abu Dhabi.
With a new team and a healthy body, Ortega swept every five rounds and took a title shot against featherweight world champion Alex Volkanovski.
He dropped Zombie with a twisting elbow on the second round, but mostly stood in front of him, boxing. He mixed up his attack and repeatedly hit the South Korean star all the way.
"I got a message: All of my homies who rolled with me, even after my last, I love you," he said. "For everyone who counted me out, learn to count mothers."
Ortega missed 22 months after his loss to Holloway because he had multiple surgeries to repair injuries he sustained in combat and because he switched teams. After a bitter breakup with his previous team, he moved to the Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center, and the move clearly paid off.
He was the fast-paced, athletic guy who climbed the ladder by beating fighters like Frankie Edgar, Renato Moicano, Cub Swanson and Clay Guida to secure a title.
But he said he spoke of problems in his camp even before he fought Holloway and they all showed up in Toronto.
On Saturday he was rejuvenated and looked like he was ready for a title fight. He admitted he's keen to fight for the belt again but said the sport has to do with a number of unknowns.
"We'll find out if I'm ready," he said. “In this game you take risks. You don't know if you are ready "
"Alexander Volkanovski, you are the champion. The thought of fighting you is exciting. We are ready."
He proved this by dominating a fight in which he was almost a 3-1 underdog and keeping the dangerous youngster on the defensive throughout.
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