Ortega, the top-ranked featherweight contender in the world, was set to challenge Max Holloway for the 145-pound title at UFC 226 until ‘Blessed’ pulled out of the fight after showing signs of concussion-like symptoms at the open workouts.
Stephens, who is on a three-fight win streak, called UFC president Dana White and demanded to fill in for Holloway, but Ortega simply wasn’t interested and turned the fight down. Rather than accept a short notice fight with Stephens, Ortega has opted to wait for Holloway to recover and have Ultimate Fighting Championship re-schedule their title fight.
That didn’t go down well with Stephens, who accused ‘T-City’ of ‘ducking’ him at UFC 226. The MMA veteran is willing to pull out of his upcoming fight with ‘Scarface’ in order to fight Ortega in his ‘backyard’.
“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 in a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, per MMA Mania’s Adam Guillen Jr.
“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,” he added. “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,” concluded a fired-up Stephens.”
As amped-up as Stephens is, it’s highly unlikely the Californian will pull out of his fight with Aldo, a former three-time UFC champion (interim belt included).