Ortega suffered a first-round TKO setback to Rodriguez in Saturday’s main event after his shoulder seemingly dislocated in the final minute of a back-and-forth opening round. It was a profoundly unfortunate way for a fight of its magnitude to end, with Ortega seeking redemption after his failed title bout against Alexander Volkanovski and Rodriguez hunting for his first shot at UFC gold. And Ortega couldn’t help but bemoan his bad luck.
“[Rodriguez’s] grip was tight on my arm and it dislocated, and that was it. Like, no armlock, no nothing, but it just dislocated. Freak accident, and it just sucks,” Ortega said Saturday on the UFC Long Island post-fight show. “It’s the first time it’s ever happened in my entire career. That was the first time it’s ever happened and now I’m kind of like taken aback by it. I can’t believe this is what’s going on right now.
“Everything was going my way. Literally, I was winning every minute of the fight. I was sticking to the game plan, because I do get emotional. For one second we started hitting, we started throwing, and I was like, ‘Alright, let’s start throwing,’ and I go, ‘No, let’s just stick to the game plan.’ And the world saw — I was about to show what I do best, which is grapple and take control. And the second we hit the ground, it just, my freaking arm just f****** came out. And I’ve got no words, man. I don’t know.”
The outcome is even more unlucky for Ortega considering his past issues with his shoulder — the 31-year-old contender has twice gone under the knife to deal with shoulder injuries.
Ortega and Rodriguez both called for a chance to run things back once “T-City” is back to full health, however with UFC president Dana White voicing an interest in putting together an interim title bout between Rodriguez and Josh Emmett while Volkanovski recovers from his own surgery, any plans for a rematch may be postponed depending on Ortega’s health.
The California native plans to figure out a proper timeline for his return as soon as possible.
“I would love to do it again,” Ortega said of the Rodriguez fight. “I feel like we left the world with blue balls. We didn’t get to finish what I wanted to do, you know? Had he got up, had we scrambled, had we banged it out — I was ready in my mind to have a dogfight. I was ready to go in there and just impose my will, and I can’t do it with just one arm.
“If he said he’s willing to run it back, I definitely want to get it back. I’m going to go MRI this as soon as I can, do what I have to do. I pray to God that I don’t have to get surgery. I already had two shoulder surgeries as it is, so I’m praying that I don’t have to go into the under that knife again, because it just sucks when you have to get surgery. The second I’m physically healthy to do it, let’s do it. I want to get back in. I’m not trying to take any [time] off. I’m upset, but trying to smile just to not — I put in way too much work, you know? I sacrifice everything just for something stupid like this to happen.”