Before The UFC – Brian Ortega

Topics: Martial Arts

Brian Martin Ortega is a Mexican American mixed martial artist fighting out of California, USA. Standing at 5 foot 9 with a reach of 69′ inches, and weighing in at around 145lbs. T City is a 27 year old high level Black Belt in BJJ under Rener Gracie. Where he began training at the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy at the age of 13. Boasting an impressive undefeated professional record of 14-0 with 1 No Contest, Ortega is the current #1 contender in the UFC’s Featherweight Division. A well rounded fighter, with excellent endurance and heart.

In the last few years Brian has displayed a consistently evolving striking ability. With a deadly ground and submission game to match. He is soon scheduled to fight current Featherweight Champion, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway at UFC 231.

Born on February 21st in 1991 and raised in the San Pedro Housing Projects of Los Angeles, California. ‘T City’ is of Mexican descent and possesses dual nationality, after both his parents relocated to the USA from Mexico.

Growing up in a rough neighbourhood, Brian was often singled out and picked on because of his bright blue eyes, skinny frame and pale skin. Ortega often talks about the adversity he has faced throughout his life. Including incidents where his close friends have been shot and killed during drive by shootings. In 2016, Brian almost lost his life whilst drowning during a surfing accident. Which he explains in this raw and emotional interview with media members… Brian was expelled from a number of schools he attended as a teen due to fighting.

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And his loyalties to the wrong crowd also kept him in trouble on the streets. At one point during his high school days Brian actually stopped going to school all together. However, this was resolved after an intervention from his Mother and Rener Gracie.

Rener approached Brian and was able to convince him to continue studying, whilst threatening to ban him from training at the gym if he did not. Brian took the advice he was given, and reaped the benefits of gym and training life in the years that would follow. After taking an interest in learning Martial Arts at the age of 5. Brian would go on to find a love for BJJ during his times as a troubled youth. He referred to his time in the academy as a form of escape. Taken under the wing of the world famous Gracie family at the age of 13, Brian became immersed in the lifestyle and dedication that accompanies the Martial Art of Brazilian JJ. And was actually teaching classes of up to 60 students by the age of 21. He absorbed information and technical details like a sponge to water, and quickly developed into one of the most dangerous BJJ practitioners in the world today. After years of hard work and dedication, Brian has perfected his craft to pinpoint precision. And is one of the very best Brazilian JJ students currently competing in MMA.

The loyalty and friendship he experienced during his time in the academy resulted in Brian actually stepping away from his old and dangerous lifestyle. In an attempt to shift his focus onto making a successful career in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Brian was given his nickname by Rener Gracie at the age of 15. Although he was the smallest guy at the gym, Ortega would submit experienced students with Triangles at any given opportunity. Gracie soon coined Brian the nickname ‘Triangle City’, which he later abbreviated to ‘T City’. After meeting his striking coach James Luhrsen at the age of 17, Ortega would take a keen interest in Boxing and improving his ability to strike effectively. He would continue to build a solid relationship with his coach, and recently credited his current UFC achievements and success to both of his coaches, Rener Gracie and James Luhrsen. Dubbed as ‘The Dream Team’ by T City himself, the team share a close bond and loyalty to one another.

The record before UFC T City made his professional mixed martial arts debut on April 25th 2010, at Gladiator Challenge Maximum Force in California. Submitting opponent John Sassone via Triangle Choke inside 2 minutes of the first round. A few months later, Brian would return to Gladiator Challenge in June 2010. Where he would go on to win his first fight via Decision, after a Unanimous vote from the judges scorecards. A month later, Brian would make his first appearance at Respect In The Cage. Where he defeated opponent Vincent Martinez by submission inside 2 minutes of the first round. Sinking in a brutal Rear Naked Choke and improving his professional record to 3-0. Fast forward to January 15th the following year, Brian would claim another Unanimous Decision victory over opponent Chris Mercado at Respect In The Cage 9.

And after a successful stint with the promotion, T City would go on to compete for the RTC Featherweight Championship. Winning the fight via Unanimous Decision and defeating opponent Carlos Garces on March 12th 2011, would mark Ortega’s first taste of MMA Gold. Ortega was on a run, building an undefeated pro record of 5-0, Brian would go on to successfully defend the Featherweight Championship. After claiming another signature Triangle Choke Submission victory in the first round at Respect In The Cage 20 on May 4th 2013.MAfter finding success with this promotion, Ortega would later go on to sign with RFA. Making his debut on August 6th 2013 against a credible opponent of Jordan Rinaldi. T City lived up to his nickname with a signature Triangle Choke Submission victory in the third round of the fight.

Making his return to the cage in January the following year, Ortega would go on to achieve MMA gold once again. Winning a Split Decision victory over Keoni Koch at RFA 12, Brian became the RFA Featherweight Championship.MBrian Ortega would go on to compile an undefeated record of 8-0 before signing with the UFC in April 2014. Since making his debut, Brian has earned Fight of The Night Honours on 3 separate occasions. After high action bout’s with Thiago Tavares, Renato Moicano and Cub Swanson. Ortega was the first fighter in UFC history to finish the durable veteran Frankie Edgar. This incredible victory earned him a Performance of The Night bonus, which Brian also received for the insane submission on Cub Swanson previously. In 2017, Brian was awarded Breakthrough Fighter of The Year at the World MMA Awards.

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Before The UFC – Brian Ortega. (2022, Mar 08). Retrieved from

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