UFC FN 57: Dustin Ortiz Welcomes Underdog Role, But Looking to Prove He’s “The Top Dog” at 125
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Dustin Ortiz started off the year by losing a tightly contested fight to John Moraga, the flyweight could close out 2014 with a win over Joseph Benavidez, and possibly a title shot within reach.
Since Ortiz dropped a split decision to Moraga in January, the Roufusport fighter has gone on to decision rising flyweights Ray Borg and Justin Scoggins in April and July respectively. While most observers knew Ortiz would face a top contender next, likely a few eyebrows were raised when the #13 ranked flyweight was booked to face the #2 positioned Benavidez.
“Nothing surprises me anymore,” Ortiz said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked if he was surprised to learn he would face Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 57. “I came into the UFC with my first fight being in Brazil, and some guys only dream of fighting in Brazil, and they put me over there for my very first fight. Then they give me John Moraga who was coming off a title shot, for my second fight in the UFC.”
“So that should have been a shocker for anybody, and it was, but like I said, in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best and work your way to the top,” furthered the 25 year-old fighter. “So, I’m not turning down any fights. When they offered me this fight, after the two straight wins, it was no surprise at all.”
While Ortiz isn’t currently ranked in the division’s top ten, he has gone 3-1 to date in the UFC, with his other win coming via stoppage over Jose Maria Tome.
“I’m ready for anyone, at anytime,” added Ortiz. “This is what I train to do, day in, and day out, so let’s do it.”
Benavidez, on the other hand, is coming off a submission win over Timothy Elliott, after he was KO’d by champion Demetrious Johnson in last December. Although the loss marked the second time Benavidez has been defeated by the champion, the Team Alpha Male fighter remains perched at the top of the rankings, thanks to a 7-2 run with the promotion.
Due to Benavidez’s extensive accomplishments, and current ranking, the 30 year-old will be the favourite on November 22nd. Although the betting lines have Ortiz as a considerable underdog, in the +300 to +335 range, its a position the flyweight is more than comfortable with.
“It’s nothing new to me. It’s no big shocker,” said Ortiz. “He’s been at the top, like I said, since he’s been in the UFC. To be an underdog, it drives me to do that much better; not really to prove other people wrong but to prove to myself that hey, I belong with these guys, and beating them only says that I’m here. I’m here to stay, and show everybody else, hey, this dude, he’s going to be the underdog but he’s going to be top dog soon enough if he keeps winning these fights.”
“I fought Ray Borg and Justin Scoggins, and Scoggins was a huge favorite over me,” Ortiz added. “It doesn’t matter. I know whose hand is going to get raised at the end of the night.”
UFC FN 57 will be hosted by the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and will feature a featherweight bout between contenders Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson in the main event.