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Brian Ortega says he agreed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 233, but Max Holloway got the fight instead

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Brian Ortega was willing to step up and face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov is fighting Max Holloway at UFC 223 after Tony Ferguson was forced out due to a knee injury, but another top featherweight was willing to step up.

Undefeated 145-pound contender Brian Ortega, who was expected to face Holloway for the featherweight championship later this year, revealed on Monday that UFC president Dana White offered him Ferguson’s spot versus “The Eagle.”

”For the record, Dana called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn’t responded yet,” Ortega wrote. “I said yes. Eventually, Max replied and Dana gave him the fight. If all goes according to plan, I’ll get my turn - at both of them.”

Ortega improved to 14-0 in MMA with a shocking first-round knockout over Frankie Edgar in March, becoming the first man to ever stop “The Answer” and scoring his sixth straight victory inside the Octagon.

Holloway, who scored back-to-back TKO victories over featherweight legend Jose Aldo in 2017, will now try to become the first man to ever defeat Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 223 in Brooklyn, NY, on April 7.