Brian Ortega doesn’t see much upside in beating ‘hungry lion’ Diego Lopes at UFC 303

LAS VEGAS – Brian Ortega thinks fighting Diego Lopes is more about keeping his position than gaining anything else.

Ortega (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC), a former UFC featherweight title challenger and long-time staple of the promotion, returns to the octagon to take on Lopes (24-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) – a fighter that’s quickly rising up the ranks, but has only been in the UFC for a little over a year. The two battle in the co-main event of UFC 303, which goes down Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

Ortega believes he has everything to lose and Lopes everything to gain in this short-notice contest.

“For me, not much crazy stakes,” Ortega told reporters at the UFC 303 media day on Wednesday. “That’s why people are like, ‘Why did you take this fight?’ For him, it obviously puts him in perfect title contention. Those are kind of the stakes there.”

Although Ortega doesn’t see himself getting a title shot or advancing much in the rankings with a win, he does believe defeating Lopes will shut up any critics that are doubtful of his current standing in the division.

“This is what’s going to test where I’m at,” Ortega said. “You got these hungry lions coming up and wanting to take your spot, and they’re almost there, you’ve been here for a while, are you able to hold down and keep your position?

“Granted, like I said, it’s on two weeks’ notice. There’s a lot of factors in there, but still, the fact that I’m still down to take these fights on short notice, that’s the dope part.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie