Dustin Ortiz wasn’t released from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but he has parted ways with the Las Vegas-based promotion after completing his contract.
The flyweight contender confirmed to MMAjunkie.com that he became a free agent following a split-decision defeat to Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 143 in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 19. The 30-year-old Tennessee native made it a point to dispute the notion that he was cut, a rumor fueled by 125-pound champion Henry Cejudo in a recent interview.
“It just kind of sparked me the way he said it, like I lost and they released me because I was no longer good enough,” Ortiz said. “It didn’t sit well with me. I’m no longer under contract, and I’m a free agent now, and that’s why I’ll be fighting at 125 the next couple of fights.”
Ortiz said he is pondering deals with One Championship, where a matchup with Demetrious Johnson is particularly attractive and Rizin. He also wouldn’t rule out a return to the UFC to compete at 135 pounds.
Regardless of his decision, he doesn’t expect the flyweight division to be around for the long haul in the UFC. Ortiz expects many other 125-pound fighters to face a similar situation to his own as time passes.
“I truly believe that they’re letting guys fight out their contract,” he said. “They come off a loss, they’re going to release them from their contract and just kind of do away with it and make an announcement that Henry is moving up to 135 and there will no longer be any [flyweight] fights in the UFC. That’ll be it. It’s pretty disheartening for all the fighters that have fought and put everything into this sport just to be done away with so effortlessly.”
Ortiz went 8-6 during his UFC tenure, posting victories over the likes of Alexandre Pantoja, Zach Makovsky, Justin Scoggins and Ray Borg, to name a few. He is 19-8 over the course of a professional career that also includes stints in Strikeforce and Tachi Palace Fights.