UFC FN 39: Dustin Ortiz Still Angry About Loss to John Moraga, But Hopes to be “Sitting on Top” by Year’s End
By Kelsey Mowatt
Dustin Ortiz may have come short in his bout with top ranked flyweight John Moraga in January, but the rising fighter is aware he still gained some ground in the tightly contested bout. Although Ortiz lost by split decision to the powerful wrestler, the 25 year-old certainly didn’t diminish the buzz which surrounded his UFC arrival last year.
“Yeah absolutely,” Ortiz said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing whether there was some upside to the loss. “And that’s the positive thing about the situation is that he just fought for the title, and it was only my second fight in the UFC, and I’m fighting this guy. So mentally, I was like ‘whoa, I’m fighting this top contender in my second fight.’ I honestly thought I would get someone who was kind of in the same boat, second or third fight in the UFC.”
Ortiz was tapped to fight Moraga after scoring a third round, stoppage win over Jose Maria Tome in his Octagon debut, which took place at UFC FN 32 in November. At the time it was Ortiz’s fourth straight victory.
“I felt like I was kind of thrown in there as a stepping stone, but just to know that I did that well, against that top of an opponent, just reassures me in my mind that this is where I’m supposed to be,” Ortiz furthered about Moraga, who was coming off a submission loss to champion Demetrious Johnson when they fought. “I’m at the top, and I’m here to fight for it, so yeah, it’s definitely a positive thing out of the loss. It’s the most positive way to lose. If that’s even possible.”
Of course, if Ortiz had defeated the promotion’s #4 ranked flyweight, then the Roufusport fighter would be smack dab in middle of the title shot race. Instead, Ortiz is still on the outside of the top ten rankings, and will need to defeat Alptekin Ozkilic on April 11th, in order to continue his rise up the ranks.
“It just one of those fights that pisses me off because I really, really felt that I won the fight” Ortiz noted. “I felt that I did enough to win the fight, and that’s what makes me the most angry: I was just doing enough to win the fight. I want to leave it out there. I could have gone two more rounds with that kid.”
“I want to push harder, I want to go harder, and I want to end fights and give it my all,” furthered Ortiz, who has recorded nine stoppages since turning pro in 2010. “So where I went wrong was just trying to get the win over a top contender and not trying to get that finish. I mean, absolutely I was trying to get the finish…I knew he had that cardio, I knew he could go the distance throwing non-stop, just non-stop action, so I needed to make sure that I could do the same.”
Now Ortiz will look to score a win over Ozkilic at UFC Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi, and continue his push towards title contention.
“I want to be sitting on top,” said the #14 ranked 125’er, when asked what his goals are for 2014. “I want to be sitting in the number one spot. I like fighting. This is what I do. It’s so much easier to fight, take a week or two, and then be right back in a training camp. That’s how I’ve been doing it these last three fights. They’ve fallen right in a row…I’d like to do that same thing. Just working up the ladder.”
Stay tuned for another article featuring Ortiz and his thoughts on Ozkilic and UFC FN 39.