Brian Ortega Through the Years

Brian Martin Ortega was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 21, 1991. Because his parents were from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Ortega has dual citizenship with the United States and Mexico. He was raised in San Pedro, California.

Brian Ortega with his father Martín Ortega and brother Chris Ortega

When Ortega was 13 years old, his father enrolled him at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California. This is where he started studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Head trainer Rener Gracie saw a lot of potential in Ortega when he first began training.

Brian Ortega's coach explains "T-City" nickname
Brian Ortega with trainer Rener Gracie

The Weekly Grind: Brian Ortega, Rener Gracie pull off 'best prank ever' - MMA Fighting

Due to financial constraints, Ortega’s father decided to terminate his son’s training. Therefore, Gracie took up the tuition payments of Ortega. Gracie also gave Ortega his BJJ black belt and the moniker ‘T-City’ (because of his usage of the triangle choke).

The two lives of Brian Ortega - From menacing streets to UFC stardom - ESPN

At the age of 17, Ortega met boxing trainer James Luhrsen. He taught him striking techniques to complete the groundwork he was studying from Gracie.

Brian Ortega with coach James Luhrsen

In the early years of his career, Ortega only competed for regional promotions in Southern California. He defeated Carlos Garces in a five-round match by unanimous decision to win his first professional MMA title. Ortega became the featherweight champion of Respect In The Cage.

Before joining the UFC in April 2014, Brian Ortega went on to amass an 8-0 unbeaten record. He attributed his accomplishment to Rener Gracie and James Luhrsen’s love and support.

In July 2014 at UFC on Fox 12, Ortega finally made his professional debut against Mike De La Torre. The outcome was originally a rear-naked choke victory for Ortega in the first round, but it was overturned to “No Contest” when a PED test revealed that Ortega had used drostanolone. Ortega was then given a $2,500 fine and a nine-month suspension.

At UFC Fight Night 68 in June 2015, Ortega squared off against Thiago Tavares. In the third round, he defeated his opponent via TKO.

In June 2016, Ortega knocked out Clay Guida in the third round of UFC 199. Guida won the first round, followed by the second and was on his way to winning the third. However, Ortega made a comeback with a flying knee at the conclusion of the third.

At UFC 214, Ortega competed against Renato Moicano in July 2017. He used a guillotine choke to submit the opponent in the third round to win the back-and-forth match.


In March 2018, Ortega and Frankie Edgar squared off at UFC 222. He ended up winning the match via knockout in the first round. Ortega received the Performance of the Night bonus for this victory.

frankie-edgar-brian-ortega-ufc-222-ceremonial-weigh-ins | MMA Junkie

In December 2018, Ortega competed against Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 231. At the conclusion of the fourth round, he lost the match via doctor stoppage.

Watch: When Max Holloway tried to teach Brian Ortega how to block mid-fight during their epic UFC 231 battle

At UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs The Korean Zombie in October 2020, Ortega competed against Chan Sung Jung. Ortega repeatedly dropped Jung, and was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

It was announced that the coaches for TUF 29 on ESPN+ would be Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. The series will feature bantamweight and middleweight contenders.

The Return Of The Ultimate Fighter | Episode 3 Recap | UFC

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 29 results, recap for 'Volkanovski vs Ortega' (Ep. 11) -

In September 2021 at UFC 266, Ortega competed against Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC Featherweight Championship. He was defeated in the match via unanimous decision.

In July 2022, Ortega and Yair Rodrguez squared off on UFC on ABC 3. Ortega was unable to continue due to a dislocated shoulder. He lost the bout via TKO at the conclusion of the first round.

UFC Long Island: Ortega vs Rodriguez, DISAPPOINTING ENDING of Main Event

A police report was filed against Ortega on March 8, 2020. This was for allegedly hitting rapper Jay Park (Jung Chan-sung’s translator) during UFC 248.

Brian Ortega has two boys. He was previously engaged to Tracy Cortez, another UFC competitor. But the couple broke up a few months back.

UFC: Brian Ortega reacts to his ex-girlfriend Tracy Cortez's relationship with Paulo Costa | Marca