Edgar, the former UFC lightweight champion, was originally set to challenge reigning featherweight champ Max Holloway back in December at UFC 218 but Edgar was forced to withdraw due to injury. The two featherweights were re-booked for a championship tilt at UFC 222 but this time, Holloway, 26, backed out after suffering a leg injury in training.
Edgar, 36, isn’t happy with the situation but is looking forward to fighting top-three ranked contender Brian Ortega, who was selected as Holloway’s replacement.
“I was pissed, man,” Edgar told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “Obviously we were supposed to get down in December and I got injured, and now here we go, he gets injured, so it’s just unfortunate. It’s the way things go. I was bummed for a little bit, a little bit depressed, but you know, I got over it, man. I just wanted to stay on the card. I’m itching to fight, it’s been too long, so here we are. Now we’ve got to fight Ortega.”
“I’m glad it was Ortega, because it makes the most sense. He’s No. 3, right under me, and that actually makes the most sense for the division. But yeah, at that point, man, I was just wanting to make sure I had someone to fight.”
Edar, who hails from Toms River, New Jersey, hasn’t fought since his second-round stoppage win over featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211. That bout took place in May, 2017 and the NCAA Division I wrestler can’t wait to get back in the Octagon to prove himself against a very ‘game’ Ortega.
“He’s game. He’s about as game as it gets,” Edgar said of his new opponent. “He’s not scared to sit there and throw with the best of them. He’s got a very slick guard, dangerous jiu-jitsu game. So he’s a dangerous opponent and I’ve got to give him credit to jump on this fight on short notice. But I think he got a new contract, he could take my spot, so he has a lot of things on the table that could get going for him too.”
Ortega, 26, is undefeated after thirteen professional bouts and surged to the top of the rankings after his second-round submission win over wily veteran Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night 123.
Edgar vs. Ortega will serve as the co-main event for UFC 222, which takes place next month, March 3 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.