Jake Ellenberger last fought in the UFC on July 27 of last year. Since the night of his disappointing performance and loss to Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Moraga, Ellenberger has struggled to find his feet in the 170 pound weight class.
Twice scheduled to fight Tarec Saffiedine in the early part of this year – January & March – both matches were scrapped as a result of fighter injuries. As such, Ellenberger has garnered ten months of ring rust and lost momentum within his division.
On Saturday night (May 24) Ellenberger will once again step into the Octagon and this time against the No. 1 ranked Robbie Lawler. The UFC 173 fight will stand as a big test for the “Juggernaut,” and one that he needs to pass if he's to put his title train back on track.
Going into the bout Ellenberger has the edge in wrestling, and can hold his own with Lawler in the power department. However, the No. 5 ranked “Juggernaut” is the lesser striker and heading into his Las Vegas fight with “Ruthless,” it appears to have been a gap that Ellenberger wanted to close.
With that in mind, the 29-year-old "Juggernaut" sought out bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s striking coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.
According to Tarverdyan, Ellenberger has “great tools” and the proof of it is in his ranking and success. However, he’s been “adding some stuff” to the “Juggernaut’s” stand-up and now, Tarverdyan tells fans they “are going to see a better Jake.”
As to fighting Lawler and not Saffiedine, Tarverdyan believes it really doesn’t matter. As he sees it, there are “no easy fights at that level” and all he can do is guarantee that Ellenberger “will be ready.”
For the rest of the Tarverdyan’s Fighthub interview and his insights into Saturday’s fight, the video is below.