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Jeremy Stephens: Brian Ortega would rather ‘sit and wait for a title’ than fight

UFC Fight Night: Stephens v Choi Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jeremy Stephens is going streaking and he’s not looking to slow down anytime soon.

With a second-round TKO win over Doo Ho Choi in the main event of UFC St. Louis on Sunday, the 31-year-old featherweight is now on his first winning streak in four years. Stephens spotted top contender Brian Ortega at cageside following the triumph and the two had a brief exchange that Stephens later detailed on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show.

“After I said, ‘Hey, let’s go, you know you’re in front of me,’” Stephens said. “And he says he would like to sit and wait for a title, which is real typical, guys like to sit and wait on their ass, be lazy… Guys like to just sit there and get money fights and sit around. Like, let’s fight bro, I’m healthy, I could fight him right now.”

Ortega is on an impressive winning streak of his own. “T-City” recently picked up the biggest win of his career, submitting veteran Cub Swanson with a guillotine choke this past December. Undefeated in 13 professional bouts (excluding one no-contest), Ortega finds himself with some leverage, much to Stephens’s chagrin.

Stephens was asked about another fighter who has rubbed him the wrong way, Conor McGregor, and whether the UFC lightweight champion’s oft-repeated mockery of Stephens’s reputation still bothered him.

“Not at all, I think people really do know who the (pause) I am because I put on savage fights,” Stephens said. “I’m a human highlight reel, my knockouts are too hot for TV, they barely play ‘em. The only time they play my highlight reel is right before I come out and fight. You don’t see it on Fox, it’s just too scary.”

With a fight with McGregor unlikely to ever happen, Stephens is content to be one of the featherweight division’s elder statesmen, which means the 41-fight veteran feels justified in lecturing the relatively inexperienced Ortega.

“I just made more money in 15 minutes than he does in 15 months,” Stephens said, when asked what message he would give to Ortega to convince him to a fight. “I don’t hit bunts, I hit home runs. That’s what I do, dude. If you want to sit on your butt, eventually you’re going to need a fight and you’re going to need a paycheck. I just won a crap ton of money by going out there and performing, and Dana just told me I won Fight of the Night, so hey, that’s how you make money, homie. If you want to make money in this game, you gotta fight, so let’s go.

“You’re in front of me, you think you’re bad and you’re strangling people, you’re the man. Stylistically I make for a great matchup, I’m a heavy striker, I’m very hard to submit, you’re an up-and-rising star, bring it on bro, let’s go.”

Watch Stephens’s full post-fight interview, including his breakdown of the Choi fight, below:

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