UFC Welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger has a huge bout coming up this summer as a 170 lb. title shot will most likely be on the line when he faces off against Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox 8 this July. ‘The Juggernaut’ has righted the ship after a KO loss to Martin Kampmann last June, since defeating Jay Hieron by decision and Nate Marquardt via brutal knockout at UFC 158.
And while facing the #3 ranked welterweight in the world might arguably the most high-profile bout of the Omaha native’s career to many, Ellenberger seems to be taking it in stride. He recently appeared on MMA Junkie Radio to discuss the pivotal tilt:
"I don't think this is the biggest fight of my career. It will be on the biggest stage, but as far as an opponent, I don't believe so."
"I'm still not really sold on him, to be honest. For him to be as high up in the ranking as he is having not really fought anybody in the top 10? Condit was a legitimate opponent, but he didn't come out of the winning side of that one."
Ellenberger appears to have no respect for his TriStar Gym-centered opponent, one who’s looked like a beast in dismantling most of his recent opponents, but truly lacking that defining win over a top-ten opponent. Ellenberger may have a point here, but it could also be argued that he himself has not truly gone up against the top elite members of the division. Yes, he did fight Carlos Condit ages ago, as did ‘Ares,’ and both succumbed to the talents of ‘The Natural Born Killer.’
The truth is that both of these fighters need this win to push forward into the top level of one of MMA’s elite divisions. A loss would be devastating for either fighter, as the climb back to top contender status is a long one at welterweight. And with champion Georges St-Pierre entertaining thoughts of potential superfights, the title scene is truly unknown. But the pressure isn’t getting to Ellenberger, who thinks that MacDonald’s relationship with GSP is giving both the hype and burden in this fight:
"I think Rory gets a lot of credit, a lot of publicity, because he trains with, obviously, Georges St-Pierre, the champion – and he gets a lot of praise from Georges. But like I said before, I'm not real sold on him yet. He hasn't really been tested, if you will. I think Carlos did, and Carlos came out on top.
"He definitely is a young kid with a lot of talent, but I don't mind being in this situation. It's not the first time I've been put in this situation where the expectations, they're always high for this young stud coming up, and he's got to prove a point."
So Jake Ellenberger’s not impressed with Rory MacDonald’s current body of work, and thinks that he has to live up more to the hype. Indeed both will have a potential title shot on the line, and it will be the first bout of such magnitude for both. Who do you pick in this war of top ranked welterweights?