UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger saw his hopes of a title shot dashed at UFC on Fox 8, as he failed to capitalize on his number one contender bout with Rory MacDonald. The disappointing decision loss set ‘The Juggernaut’ one step back, and multiple injuries have forced Ellenberger off two cards in the 10 months since.
Now scheduled to return at UFC 173, Ellenberger will be eying a very meaningful fight against the number one in the division-Robbie Lawler. Currently ranked as number five at welterweight, Ellenberger still has the likes of MacDonald, Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley to watch out for, let alone injured champion Johny Hendricks. Speaking during a recent stint on Submission Radio, Ellenberger had a few choice words about ‘The Chosen One’:
“I could care less about (Tryon) Woodley and the fight with Rory. They’re both great guys, but I mean it’s crazy how fast you know, things change, people’s perspective change. It’s like, you’ve got a guy like Woodley. I mean, Condit getting hurt that’s disappointing, that stuff happens, but it’s like, you can’t give a title shot to a guy who’s, you know. If I’m fighting a guy and he gets hurt in the fight, I mean I didn’t beat him. I wouldn’t feel good. Sure he got hurt, but I didn’t submit him, I didn’t knock him out.”
There were fight fans out there that felt Woodley’s win was hollow due to Condit sustaining the injury, but however indecisive people feel that fight was; Condit is out of the game for the meantime, Woodley got the win, and the division must move on. Ellenberger then discussed the always controversial subject of steroids in MMA:
“Oh yeah. Yeah absolutely. I’ve fought guys who’ve been confirmed on things and I knew for a fact that they were on stuff.” “Here’s my view, steroids or any other type of performance enhancer, it’s not gonna any (more) mentally tougher. That’s for sure, that’s what I do know. Yeh I’m sure there is, I’m sure there are a lot of people that are on things. I know in the past there has been some guys that I have known that were on things, but it didn’t change the outcome of the fight. It didn’t change the way I fought ’em. It shouldn’t change your psychological perspective on how you approach the fight.”
The plague of problems that comes with steroid abuse in sports is an endless list, and the recent ban on TRT is no guarantee that PED abuse will end. Jake is yet another fighter in a long line that confirms the common opinion that steroid abuse is rife in MMA. ‘The Juggernaut’ then went on to discuss how he matches against ‘Ruthless’ and the UFC 169 title fight between Georges St-Pierre and ‘Bigg Rigg’:
“That was a great fight and people thought I was crazy because I did think Georges won three of the five rounds and it was a very close fight. At the same point, you know Johny deserves credit because he did have a fantastic performance against Georges. But I don’t see, no I really don’t (Hendricks being champ for long). There’s a lot of talented fighters in this division. I don’t see him being champ for, in six months to be honest. By the end of the year he won’t be champ.”
How he matches up against Robbie Lawler: “He’s pretty straight forward. He moves forward, he’s dangerous, he’s powerful. What’s gonna separate me is just being faster.” “I’m sparring guys who are unbelievable hitters you know, and they’re much faster. I assure you they’re professional boxers and a couple of ’em are world champs.” “Is there anything that stands out? No. All I know is I’m one hundred percent ready and couldn’t be more focused. I’m looking to be first and finish. The first to start and the last to finish, so really just putting an exclamation point on this fight”
Throughout Jake Ellenberger’s career, he has proved to be a top-level fighter. It still remains to be seen if he can top the most stacked division in the UFC, possibly the world, but the fight against Lawler at 173 will prove a good measuring stick. Lawler gave the champion five hard rounds at UFC 171, although Ellenberger says he has never been impressed by Hendricks:
“Just to be quite honest and be frank I’ve just never really been impressed with Johny. Sure he’s had a lot of success in the sport of wrestling, so he’s very mentally strong. But at the same point he’s still developing as a fighter in my opinion. I thought Robbie (Lawler) you know, when Johny can’t be the bully; typically with guys who fight in that sense if they can’t be the bully it’s hard for them to succeed.”
We’ll see how Ellenberger handles the ‘Ruthless’ one at UFC 173, but a win would likely secure him a very lofty spot in the rankings, and would do a world of good for his title aspirations. Easier said than done though, when you face a heavy-handed veteran like Robbie Lawler.