Cejudo: Volkanovski vs. Ortega Is The Greatest Fight In MMA History

Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo believes the UFC 266 main event between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega is the “greatest fight” in MMA history.

At the start of one of the most memorable sets of final pay-per-views a year has se…

Henry Cejudo, UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega

Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo believes the UFC 266 main event between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega is the “greatest fight” in MMA history.

At the start of one of the most memorable sets of final pay-per-views a year has seen in the UFC, reigning featherweight titleholder Volkanovski met with top contender Ortega in the September 25 headliner. The pair were originally set to clash at UFC 260 six months prior, but a positive COVID-19 test forced the Australian out.

In the end, the pair coached the 2021 return of The Ultimate Fighter. Whilst it certainly wasn’t the most thrilling season of the show, it did add an extra pinch of animosity and helped build the matchup more heading into their eventual showdown at UFC 266.

When they did enter the Octagon together, they brought a firework display that is certainly worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame Fight Wing. Across five rounds, we saw why Volkanovski is unbeaten in the UFC and in his past 20 fights. After five rounds, he successfully defended his title for the second time through a unanimous decision verdict.

But even in defeat, we saw why “T-City” has a spot among the elite at 145 pounds, with two tight submission attempts in the third round providing one of the most memorable frames in history.

Cejudo Believes Volkanovski vs. Ortega Had Everything

In the eyes of many, the UFC 266 main event was certainly a top contender for the Fight of the Year, in the conversation with the likes of Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler at UFC 268, Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42, and Ji?í Procházka vs. Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25.

But while many didn’t have Volkanovski’s one and only defense of 2021 in their top spot for the year, one former UFC champion had it there and more. Cejudo, who held both flyweight and bantamweight gold simultaneously during his UFC career, believes the memorable September five-rounder was not only the FOTY, but the greatest fight in the history of mixed martial arts.

“The one I really like the most, I’m going to have to go to with Alexander ‘The Average’ (Volkanovski) and Brian Ortega,” Cejudo said on his podcast with The Schmo. “That isn’t, to me in my eyes, the Fight of the Year, but this is the greatest fight in my eyes in mixed martial arts history. It displayed striking, defense, escaping from submissions, takedowns, takedown defense, I mean, it was everywhere.” (h/t BJPenn.com)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYXgZgqpeu3/

Having extended his win streak and featherweight reign with victory over Ortega, Volkanovski is now in need of a next challenger after Max Holloway had to withdraw from their UFC 272 bout.

As fate would have it, Cejudo, who has been lobbying to fight Volkanovski for several months, has thrown his name into the ring as a potential short-notice replacement. If selected, maybe Cejudo will be the one on the other end of an all-time classic against Volkanovski.

Do you agree with Henry Cejudo? Is Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega the greatest fight in MMA history?

Continue Reading Cejudo: Volkanovski vs. Ortega Is The Greatest Fight In MMA History at MMA News.

Dan Hooker Wants To Make Featherweight Return Against Brian Ortega

Dan Hooker wants one of the featherweight division’s biggest challenges for his return to the weight class.

Hooker recently revealed that he asked UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to face Brian Ortega for his first featherweight fight since 2016. This co…

Dan Hooker and Brian Ortega (Photo Credits: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC & Zuffa LLC)

Dan Hooker wants one of the featherweight division’s biggest challenges for his return to the weight class.

Hooker recently revealed that he asked UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to face Brian Ortega for his first featherweight fight since 2016. This conversation took place at UFC 269, where Hooker was cornering teammate Kai Kara-France.

Hooker, a regular at lightweight, recently had a successful practice weight cut at featherweight. He posted his successful attempt on Instagram, showing that he was able to meet the 146-pound limit.

Hooker claimed he wanted to join the division with a fight against The Korean Zombie. However, after he was informed that Zombie is injured, he shifted his focus to the two-time title challenger.

“After Kai’s win, [I saw] Sean Shelby on the way out, and that’s the first time I’ve heard from him since the featherweight [post online],” said Hooker in an interview with The Mac Life. “He’s obviously seen it, and he was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do? 55, 45?’ I said yeah, 45. I can make 45 quite comfortably if I get something good. He goes, ‘Who do you want?’ I said ‘Korean Zombie,’ but he’s injured. What about Ortega? He goes, ‘Oh, I’ll have a look. I’ll send you a list.’ I was amped up.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Potential Fight Gives Hooker & Ortega A Chance To Rebound

Dan Hooker
Dan Hooker (Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Dan Hooker’s UFC run initially started at featherweight, competing six times in the weight class from 2014 to 2016. He later shifted to lightweight, where he has competed for his last 12 appearances.

Hooker is planning to drop down a weight class after fighting against some of the top names at lightweight. Over the past year, he has faced former Bellator Champion Michael Chandler and rising lightweight contender Islam Makhachev.

A potential bout against Ortega gives both fighters a chance to bounce back after recently facing defeat. Ortega notably lost a title fight earlier this year, dropping a decision to divisional champ Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Who do you want Dan Hooker to face in his featherweight debut?

Continue Reading Dan Hooker Wants To Make Featherweight Return Against Brian Ortega at MMA News.

Dan Hooker Wants To Make Featherweight Return Against Brian Ortega

Dan Hooker wants one of the featherweight division’s biggest challenges for his return to the weight class.

Hooker recently revealed that he asked UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to face Brian Ortega for his first featherweight fight since 2016. This co…

Dan Hooker and Brian Ortega (Photo Credits: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC & Zuffa LLC)

Dan Hooker wants one of the featherweight division’s biggest challenges for his return to the weight class.

Hooker recently revealed that he asked UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to face Brian Ortega for his first featherweight fight since 2016. This conversation took place at UFC 269, where Hooker was cornering teammate Kai Kara-France.

Hooker, a regular at lightweight, recently had a successful practice weight cut at featherweight. He posted his successful attempt on Instagram, showing that he was able to meet the 146-pound limit.

Hooker claimed he wanted to join the division with a fight against The Korean Zombie. However, after he was informed that Zombie is injured, he shifted his focus to the two-time title challenger.

“After Kai’s win, [I saw] Sean Shelby on the way out, and that’s the first time I’ve heard from him since the featherweight [post online],” said Hooker in an interview with The Mac Life. “He’s obviously seen it, and he was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do? 55, 45?’ I said yeah, 45. I can make 45 quite comfortably if I get something good. He goes, ‘Who do you want?’ I said ‘Korean Zombie,’ but he’s injured. What about Ortega? He goes, ‘Oh, I’ll have a look. I’ll send you a list.’ I was amped up.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Potential Fight Gives Hooker & Ortega A Chance To Rebound

Dan Hooker
Dan Hooker (Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Dan Hooker’s UFC run initially started at featherweight, competing six times in the weight class from 2014 to 2016. He later shifted to lightweight, where he has competed for his last 12 appearances.

Hooker is planning to drop down a weight class after fighting against some of the top names at lightweight. Over the past year, he has faced former Bellator Champion Michael Chandler and rising lightweight contender Islam Makhachev.

A potential bout against Ortega gives both fighters a chance to bounce back after recently facing defeat. Ortega notably lost a title fight earlier this year, dropping a decision to divisional champ Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Who do you want Dan Hooker to face in his featherweight debut?

Continue Reading Dan Hooker Wants To Make Featherweight Return Against Brian Ortega at MMA News.

Dan Hooker Targets Brian Ortega For UFC Featherweight Return

Dan HookerDan Hooker appears serious for a return to featherweight and a potential title run, and he’s laser-focused on a matchup with Brian Ortega. Hooker is coming off his most recent loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, in which he filled in for Rafael dos Anjos on short notice after previously winning at UFC 266 […]

Dan Hooker

Dan Hooker appears serious for a return to featherweight and a potential title run, and he’s laser-focused on a matchup with Brian Ortega.

Hooker is coming off his most recent loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, in which he filled in for Rafael dos Anjos on short notice after previously winning at UFC 266 over Nasrat Haqparast.

Hooker has hinted at a move to featherweight after recent social media posts showed a test weight cut to 145 pounds. Before he rose to contention at lightweight, he was debuted in the featherweight division.

During a recent interview with The Mac Life, Hooker explained a recent meetup with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby in which he made his desires clear.

“I ran into Sean Shelby, and that’s the first time I’ve heard from him since the featherweight thing,” Hooker said. “He’s seen it, and he was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do? 55, 45?’ I said yeah, 45. I can make 45 quite comfortably if I get something good. He goes, ‘Who do you want?’ I said ‘Korean Zombie,’ but he’s injured. What about Ortega? He goes, ‘Oh, I’ll have a look. I’ll send you a list.’ I was amped up.”

Dan Hooker Planned A Move To Featherweight After Losing To Islam Makhachev

Hooker is anticipating a return to the octagon in early 2022, and it could potentially come against Ortega. Hooker has lost three of his last four fights at lightweight after winning seven of his previous eight.

Ortega and Hooker fought on the same card at UFC 266, with Ortega losing an all-time classic against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. Former champion Max Holloway is expected to face Volkanovski in a trilogy next year, which could set up Hooker and Ortega for a potential No. 1 contender bout.

Who would you like Dan Hooker to face for his return to featherweight?

AJ McKee Issues $1 Million Challenge To Top UFC Featherweights

Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee is willing to put his money where his mouth is against top UFC featherweights.

McKee has called for a possible cross-promotion fight between himself and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski or fo…

AJ McKee

Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee is willing to put his money where his mouth is against top UFC featherweights.

McKee has called for a possible cross-promotion fight between himself and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski or former champion Max Holloway since earning the belt. He won the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix by finishing Patricio Freire in one of the most stunning performances of 2021.

It isn’t a well-kept secret that UFC president Dana White has zero interest in any cross-promotion fights, especially with Bellator and McKee. But, McKee has a solution to top MMA featherweights who feel he isn’t on their level.

During a recent interview with The Schmo, McKee issued an open challenge to Volkanovski, Holloway, and others to come down to his gym and scrap for $1 Million.

AJ McKee Is Arguably The New Face Of Bellator MMA

AJ McKee
(via Bellator MMA)

“Come down to Body Shop,” McKee said. “We all know I just made a million. All you UFC fighters, PFL, wherever you at. If you feel you are the best 145-pounder in the world, I got a million dollars cash money. Come test it.”

“I’m the best 145-pound fighter – not only the best 145-pound fighter – I am the best fighter in the world,” McKee continued. “And if you don’t know, you will know momentarily.”

McKee has reason to be confident in his chances against the likes of Volkanovski and Holloway, as the undefeated featherweight has looked like a tough puzzle to solve in his career. Before his win over Freire, he earned big finishes over Darrion Caldwell and Derek Campos to continue his undefeated Bellator tenure.

For now, McKee awaits his first featherweight title defense, which has yet to be announced. He’s also dabbled in the possibility of moving up to lightweight eventually to try to become the latest two-weight world champion in MMA.

What do you think would happen in a fight between AJ McKee and top UFC stars such as Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski?

Continue Reading AJ McKee Issues $1 Million Challenge To Top UFC Featherweights at MMA News.

Herb Dean Describes Why He Didn’t Stop Ortega/Volkanovski Fight

Following the historic featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, referee Herb Dean clears the air on why he never stopped the contest. In the main event at UFC 266, Volkanovski fought Ortega in an instant classic that went all five rounds. In the third round, the champion escaped two seemingly air-tight submissions. […]

Continue Reading Herb Dean Describes Why He Didn’t Stop Ortega/Volkanovski Fight at MMA News.

Following the historic featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, referee Herb Dean clears the air on why he never stopped the contest.

In the main event at UFC 266, Volkanovski fought Ortega in an instant classic that went all five rounds. In the third round, the champion escaped two seemingly air-tight submissions. Once Volkanovski popped his head out of Ortega’s grasp, the champ began to rain ground and pound in a blatant attempt to steal back the round. At the end of the third stanza, Ortega was laid out on the canvas and appeared to have little to no willpower left to get up to his chair.

Referee Herb Dean was the third man in the cage that night and has since expressed that Ortega did not receive additional corner help. Even though Dean admits that the corner made contact with their fighter, he affirms that they did not lift him up to the stool. Instead, Ortega lifted himself up after being prompted by his corner, according to Herb Dean. Speaking with MMA reporter Helen Yee, Dean recounted his experience reffing the main event at UFC 266.

“I don’t think his cornerman helped him.” Dean told Helen Yee. “He was laying there, wasn’t getting up. I think it was more of a ‘hey, it’s time to get up, let’s get moving.’ Cause once they grabbed it was not like they had to lift him up. Once they put hands on him, he was getting up on the stool.

“At the end of the round, it was exhaustion. He had given it his all. Then the physician comes in and medically clears him, says he’s clear. Some of his answers weren’t exactly clear but then when he looked at me and gave clear answers like ‘yes, I see, yes, I want to continue’. You could see he was ready to compete again.” Herb Dean explained.

Following a minute of rest, in between rounds, Herb Dean and the ringside physician assessed Ortega’s condition. After being asked a series of questions, Ortega passed the test by the skin of his teeth. As one of the most difficult and criticized jobs in combat sports, officiating and stopping fights in live time remain paramount to fighter safety and longevity.

Do you think Herb Dean made the right call?

Continue Reading Herb Dean Describes Why He Didn’t Stop Ortega/Volkanovski Fight at MMA News.