Brian Ortega will go the whole of 2019 without a UFC fight.
The one-time featherweight title challenger was scheduled to face Chan Sung Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie,” in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Busan, South Korea, but ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday that an undisclosed injury has forced him to withdraw from the card.
Officials are looking at finding a late replacement to take on Jung, although there’s no guarantee it will materialize. Other featherweight bouts on that event are Doo Ho Choi vs. Charles Jourdain and Seung Woo Choi vs. Suman Mokhtarian.
Ortega (14-1, 1 NC) last fought almost a year ago to the day at UFC 240 against Max Holloway, losing a one-sided title fight by doctor stoppage TKO at the end of round four. “T-City” is known as one of the best finishers in the sport, notably knocking out Frankie Edgar and Clay Guida, as well as snatching up submissions versus Cub Swanson, Renato Moicano, and Diego Brandao.
Jung (15-5) bounced back from an agonizing last-second KO loss to Yair Rodriguez with a sensational 58-second thrashing of Renato Moicano in June’s UFC Greenville main event. Like Ortega, “TKZ” also fought for UFC gold, but an injured shoulder led to a fourth-round TKO loss to then-champion Jose Aldo back in 2013.
UFC Busan takes place on December 21st and streams live on ESPN+. The co-main event is currently a light heavyweight tilt between Aleksandar Rakic and Volkan Oezdemir.