While many thought #4 ranked UFC Welterweight Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger would match up up against Demian Maia in his next bout, it appears that another top-level fight has materialized. The Province reported today that the UFC’s return to Seattle will feature a bout between Ellenberger and #3 ranked Rory MacDonald.
MacDonald was set to rematch Carlos Condit at UFC 158 last month before a back and neck injury sidelined him indefinitely. Apparently he’s getting back into form, and will fight a very pivotal bout on July 27th. Ellenberger was last seen at UFC 158 himself, knocking out former Strikeforce 170 lb. Champion Nathan Marquardt with a vicious display of striking.
Ellenberger was slated to face Johny Hendricks on that card before MacDonald was hurt. Hendricks of course beat Carlos Condit in an intense battle, earning him his coveted title shot at Georges St-Pierre. The champ and number one contender will face off at a yet-to-be-disclosed time, and it’s hard to imagine that the winner of this bout will not face whoever wins between Ellenberger and MacDonald.
MacDonald last fought in December, beating BJ Penn in a one-sided affair. Ellenberger is going to provide a noted step up in competition for “Ares,” who’s a friend and student of GSP. The two have repeatedly stated that they will not fight each other, with MacDonald promising a move to Middleweight should the situation arise.
Ellenberger has been on a steady climb to the top of the UFC Welterweight division for years now, and his only loss in his last nine fights was to Martin Kampmann last June. Ellenberger was dominating that fight until he got caught with some brutal knees. He’s appeared to have learned to have paced himself in his last two bouts since then.
The event is rumored to be UFC on FOX 8. The matchup has been confirmed by the UFC, so fans can rest assured that this may be one of the best matchups available in all of MMA right now. Both fighters are extremely well versed strikers with high-level wrestling ability. Who would be your choice to win and likely get a title shot in this battle of top-ranked contenders?