The UFC's final main event of the decade has taken a hit.
Frankie Edgar has verbally agreed to replace Ortega, sources say. The fight would be contested at 145 pounds. Edgar is scheduled to make his bantamweight debut against Cory Sandhagen on Jan. 25 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and both the UFC and Edgar are hopeful that fight can remain intact, barring any injuries.
In the meantime, the promotion is working on contingency plans for Sandhagen, according to sources.
"It's not cool of Frankie to do something like that," said Sandhagen. "I don't know if money got involved or what, but I thought this guy wanted to have another run at a belt and to call himself the best in the world. I thought that's the kind of fighter Frankie was. It what he said he wanted. It's sad that his values got mixed somewhere and now he's taking a fight that isn't going to get him within arms reach of a title, like the fight against me would. The UFC is trying to do their jobs and save a huge card, which I get, but they're also losing a shot at an opportunity to turn a young, new face into a star and the Raleigh fans are going to be pretty bummed too."
Sources said the UFC has been working to keep Jung, nicknamed "The Korean Zombie," on the Busan card, considering his popularity in his home country of South Korea.
Ortega (14-1-1) hasn't fought since last December, when he lost a featherweight title fight to Max Holloway. Over the past year, he has dealt with multiple hand, nose and foot injuries, which have kept him sidelined.
Jung (15-5) is coming off a 58-second TKO victory over Renato Moicano in June. Jung hasn't fought in South Korea since 2008, three years prior to joining the UFC.