Brian Ortega admits he wondered if fighting was “still worth it” after he underwent “multiple” surgeries during time off

By Cole Shelton - February 14, 2024

Brian Ortega has had a long road to return from the injury he sustained in his UFC Long Island main event fight in July of 2022 against Yair Rodriguez.

Brian Ortega

Ortega was taking on Rodriguez in a pivotal matchup for the featherweight division as the winner was expected to get a title shot. In the first round, however, ‘T-City’ dislocated his shoulder and the fight was stopped. Since then, Ortega has dealt with a couple more injuries as he revealed he’s had multiple surgeries during the time off, and not just on his shoulder.

“No,” Ortega said to Kevin Iole when asked if it was only the shoulder that kept him out of action. “We had a couple of surgeries, man, if I’m being honest, later on, I will open up on all of them. Yeah, it was a bit of a journey, it was a bit of a journey.”

With Brian Ortega having to have multiple surgeries, ‘T-City’ admits during his recovery process he was thinking about whether fighting was still worth it.

Although Ortega is still a top-ranked featherweight, he says how his body may be down the line made him wonder if he should hang up for the gloves.

“I have had this year to reflect on it where I would be lying if the questions didn’t come up, ‘Is it still worth it?’ Right, because for the first time in my life, I understand when people say I have kids I can’t do this anymore,” Ortega explained. “I used to think come on man, of course we can, we are strong mentally. It’s not even that, the smart people look at it in the long run. If I’m moving already like I’m 60 years old, how am I really going to move when I’m 60? How is it going to be on my (kids), my family? I would be lying if that thought didn’t come up after doing a tally of how many surgeries I had in total.”

Brian Ortega says during the time off, he was depressed but ultimately decided he still has more to give this sport which is why he’s returning.

“The thoughts of retirement only arose after I listened to my feelings, not my logic, my feelings. I got in depression or sadness took over because all I want to do is fight,” Ortega concluded.

Brian Ortega is set to return to the Octagon in the co-main event of UFC Mexico City next Saturday against Yair Rodriguez.


Brian Ortega UFC