‘Redemption’ – Arnold Allen calls out top 5 featherweight; it ‘makes the most sense’

UFC featherweight Arnold Allen wants redemption after his loss to Max Holloway earlier this month.

By: Kristen King | 1 month ago
‘Redemption’ – Arnold Allen calls out top 5 featherweight; it ‘makes the most sense’
Arnold Allen during weigh-ins for UFC Kansas City | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Arnold Allen missed out on his first UFC championship opportunity this past November. At a time when reigning UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski announced he would pursue champ-champ status against Islam Makhachev, the promotion wanted to ensure his original division stayed active. As a result, an interim UFC featherweight championship fight was scheduled, and the two fighters tapped to vie for it was Yair Rodríguez and Josh Emmett. 

Arnold Allen aiming for Brian Ortega

Though Allen thought he deserved to vie for the interim UFC featherweight championship, especially after improving to 10-0 in the promotion after back-to-back TKOs of Dan Hooker and Calvin Kattar, ‘Almighty’ found a silver lining in the situation.  A fight — and a win — against former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway ‘would be a bigger statement,’ and Allen was given an opportunity to prove it. Holloway vs. Allen was scheduled for a UFC event in April, and this had title implications all over it. With Volkanovski and Rodríguez set to unify titles in July, a No. 1 contender was expected to emerge from this fight with Holloway and Allen. 

As competitive as it was, Allen fell short against Holloway, who handed the Tristar Gym pupil a loss. And with that, the 29-year-old missed out on yet another UFC championship opportunity. However, as Allen has done in the past, he, once again, found a silver lining: he could fight his way into title contention against another high-profile fighter. During an interview with Nik Hobbs of Sky Sports, Allen expressed interest in Brian Ortega, the one-time title challenger who is ahead of him in the official UFC rankings.

“That’s probably the matchup that makes the most sense,” said Allen. “We’re both in the same position. We’re looking for redemption. He’s had his title shot. I’m still trying to earn mine. That’s the guy to put me right back in there. A win there, 100 percent, we’ll be back in that title talk.”

Allen praises Ortega

Ortega has stayed on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury suffered in his most recent appearance against Yair Rodríguez at UFC Long Island this past July. ’T-City’ underwent surgery and has slowly started to train again, signaling a much-anticipated return at some point. And when Ortega does return, Allen wants him in a title eliminator that could see either fighter in a prime position to (potentially) challenge for the UFC featherweight championship. 

“He’s fantastic,” said Allen. “He’s a great competitor, really good jiu-jitsu he’s showing some really good knockout power, he has out-struck some great strikers, as well, so he’s not just a one-trick pony.

“I’m sure he’s gonna come back better than ever off this injury, so he’s looking to rebound and earn himself a title shot again,” continued Allen. “I’m looking to rebound. It would be a great fight. I think that’s a headliner, for sure.”

When do Allen and Ortega expect to return?

When Allen and Ortega expect to return to the Octagon remains to be seen. For the former, he is ‘waiting for some results on an X-ray of my hand’ following his fight with Holloway. For the latter, his recovery from shoulder surgery is nearing its completion. 

The most recent update from Ortega came in an interview with The Schmo after Ilia Topuria called out the 32-year-old. 

“People like Ilia Topuria calling me out constantly, I see it now,” said Ortega. “Two things come to mind: One, I’ve never backed out of any fighter. I fought the best of the best. I fought the people you wish you can fight. Two is, I’m not even able to fight. So let me get back on my s—t, let me get back to training, and then I’ll gladly humble someone if I have to.

”And once they’re on their way up to where I’m at, then you can come and join me, but you can’t use your mouth to come up here,” continued Ortega. ”This is the fighting world. You can only do so much with the mouth, and this time is you’re going to have to fight.”

Ortega is currently on a two-fight losing streak that includes a unanimous decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight championship. 

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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