Written by Derek Moody, March 15, 2016, at 8:30 p.m.
A Gracie Academy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and Instructor, co-owner of Black Belt Surfing, up-and-coming featherweight for the UFC, Brian “T-City” Ortega has a lot on his plate while climbing the ranks. There’s a saying that your career hasn’t started until you’ve won a fight under the UFC banner. If there’s any truth to that then Ortega’s career has just begun. He was a featherweight champ at Respect In the Cage and later a featherweight champ at Resurrection Fighting Alliance.
Gaining popularity online throughout the years via Gracie Academy technique and demonstration videos, T-City (short for Triangle City) showed flashes early of why his ground game would be effective in mixed martial arts.
A submission specialist blessed with a good chin, tons of heart, and a great gas tank, it’s easy to see why he’s undefeated. Always willing to stand and bang to display his versatility, it’s hard to place him in the box many jiu-jitsu practitioners are in only resorting to jiu-jitsu. Ortega makes sure he’s on top of his game, he trains six days a week and reserves the seventh day for surfing.
A quick learner, always adapting, overcoming and succeeding; considered a natural to most Brian Ortega was destined for greatness. While some fighters are allergic to gold, he gravitates toward it. Transitioning over from the world of jiu-jitsu is often difficult, some never adjust, T-City is making it appear effortless. A featherweight champion in two different companies, looking to make it three; Brian “T-City” Ortega has all eyes on him.
Amid a major setback once arriving to the UFC, Ortega discovered the only person who could defeat him was himself. All the talent in the world and figured he could use an edge. He didn’t need it; his skill set was far ahead of Mike De La Torre’s. Without a doubt, the outcome would have been similar if Ortega didn’t use Drostanolone.
Drostanolone is an anabolic steroid that has been used for medical purposes but more often used for cutting cycles. It was apparent which usage Ortega chose this for. A first-round rear-naked choke in a very impressive UFC debut was taken away once the post fight drug test results came back positive. Questions arose and this top prospect almost never launched his UFC career due to this serious offense.
Nine months wasted due to suspension, fined $2,500 by the California State Athletic Commission, still the most hurtful by far was having his UFC win overturned to a no contest. Very apologetic and remorseful, T-City admitted his mistake and took ownership of the situation.
Eager to prove his debut wasn’t a fluke, T-City came back as soon as the suspension was lifted. Signing a contract for the most difficult fight available in hope he’d be able to prove his worth. Thiago Tavares, a veteran opponent with more UFC fights then Ortega had in total fights, was that difficult fight. Taking the fight on three week’s notice was easy to do seeing how one of his mentors, Ryron Gracie, accepted a match against Josh Barnett in three day’s notice to save Metamoris 6.
Proving his worth was an understatement, seeing how durable his chin was and effectiveness to cause damage he became an impact immediately. 2-0-1 in the UFC, Ortega has two wins against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, tapping out one of them. Approached twice after the overturned decision for new fights, Ortega took both opportunities to fight the tougher opponent of those offered. Twice victorious, his decision making paid off moving him into the top 15.
Currently ranked 12th in the featherweight division, always taking the tougher higher ranked opponent; I have no doubt that he’ll be in the top 10 with a win in his next fight. If he can book two fights this year and win them i’m certain he’ll be fighting someone in the top five with a chance to enter it if successful. T-City has the perfect balance of trainers and support system to get him to the top, the pressure is on and we’ll see if he continues rising to the occasion.
R.I.P. Scott Beers