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“If you’re with me — you’re sweating with me, you’re bleeding with me — I’m with you, and you’re my family. I’m going to treat you as so. If you’re my people, I ride for my people.”

Growing up with The Ultimate Fighter on his own television, Ortega said he’s always admired the chance the show creates for athletes at the start of their career. And some of his favorite moments?

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“Nate (Diaz), obviously. Going in there, winning and just being from the west side, the west coast,” Ortega said. “Some fighters that didn’t even win the show and still made it out there. Uriah Hall is one of my all-time favorites. Especially with that crazy knockout, I remember thinking, ‘Holy sh*t, who is this man?'”

With the show returning for the first time in nearly three years, Ortega knows there are shoes to fill this season, but it’s a challenge he’s undoubtedly up for.

“The fact that it’s back and to hear that as a fan is dope in itself,” Ortega explained. “It’s nerve wracking, but we’ve got to bring something to the table that fans are going to enjoy, keep everyone entertained, but at the same time, we’re gonna be ourselves.”


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