UFC featherweight standout Brian Ortega shocked the world over the weekend with his round one knockout of UFC veteran Frankie Edgar, earning a Performance of the Night bonus in the process.
It would be Edgar’s 29th professional mixed martial arts bout and would be the first time that the New Jersey native would ever be stopped inside the octagon.
Edgar had originally been slated to fight featherweight champion Max Holloway, but when Holloway was removed from the bout due to injury, Edgar decided he wanted to take on the man next in line.
At just twenty-seven years-of-age, Ortega has overcome incredible adversity not just in his personal life but with wins against UFC legends such as Clay Guida and Cub Swanson. Ortega’s victory over Edgar now serves to solidify his place at the top of the featherweight division.
The Mexican-American Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the section 8 housing projects in San Pedro.
Section 8 housing is a form of housing offered to low-income households in the United States and has often been linked by the media to increases of crime in the areas they are set up in. Fortunately for “T-City”, he met James Luhrsen at the age of seventeen, who coached him in boxing, and later would become a student of Rorion, Ryron and Rener Gracie at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance.
While these may have been positive influences in his life, Ortega still has plenty of stories to tell about his time growing up in “the hood”, including one about getting arrested by police on his way to school.
“I’ve been and done a lot of things,” said Ortega on the “Big Brown Breakdown” podcast, where he revealed the reasons behind him leaving multiple high schools, as well as some of the awful things he saw growing up.
“Like, my cousin died, he got shot and that triggered a different kind of thing. Then hanging out and getting into fights with the homies, I was from the hood, you know? Then the next year one of my best friends, he got shot and died, I got to see him right there, laid out… This was all within six, seven months of each other and they were all drive-bys.”
Ortega then left school, before being forced to return by his jiu-jitsu instructors who refused to let him train unless he continued to study. “The only positive thing in my life was the academy… my escape was the academy [jiu-jitsu].”
Amazing to see how far the young athlete has come in just a few short years. Check out the full video below and let us know what you think!
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