Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender, Jake Ellenberger is inching closer to a long desired title shot. With no clear-cut number one challenger, aside from interim 170-pound champion Carlos Condit ready to unify his strap against Georges St. Pierre later this year, the former Marine has definitely made a case for himself.
"The Juggernaut" has been on a tear as of late, winning six straight including victories over Jake Shields and most recently, Diego Sanchez. His only loss in the UFC came at the hands of Condit -- a rematch he so desperately wants.
The two originally tangled at UFC Fight Night: "Diaz vs. Guillard" over two and half years ago and Condit squeezed out a very close split decision victory. Before Ellenberger can even think about a rematch with "The Natural Born Killer," he will have his hands full against dangerous striker Martin Kampmann as the two will face off on June 1, 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 Finale in a bout that will have major title implications.
In his recent appearance on Pro MMA Radio, Jake talked about his road to the top of the 170-pound ladder and gave his thoughts on a future showdown against Condit, his upcoming bout against "The Hitman" and also touches on the sentiments from some mixed martial arts (MMA) fans and media that felt Sanchez would have defeated him if the bout was a five round fight.
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"Yeah, it's like a baseball team losing in nine innings, and they say, "Yeah well it would have went 12 then we would have won." Well, you know what? It didn't. Or if it was a wrestling match, NCAA finals, "Oh if it would have went to overtime I would have won." Really? Well, that's irrelevant. People have their opinions and I respect Diego as a fighter. That guy is a warrior, I have nothing bad to say about the guy. It's an honor to fight him and people can speculate all they want, but, trust me, I assure you that if I had to go five rounds, I could have. Was I tired? Sure, but I assure you he was just as tired as I was. You can always do so much more than you think you can. When you have to, you will. I know if I had to go five rounds I could have, I would have forced myself. That's one of the things the Marine Corp. taught me."
"The Juggernaut" spoke about his close loss to current UFC welterweight interim champion, Carlos Condit and his decision to hold out for Georges. St. Pierre:
"I felt I won the fight but the judges saw it the other way. There is nothing I can do about that. Here is the thing I do know, I know I can beat him and he does not want to fight me because he knows the same thing too. Me fighting Condit is out of my control right now but I'm just going to keep moving forward you know? Our job as fighters is to compete and fight when they tell us to fight. We don't choose who we fight and we don't choose when we fight, so, it is frustrating for me because I am wanting to get a rematch with Carlos Condit. But at the same time I can't control that. But I have to agree, what is the point of having an interim champ if they are not active. If the champ is not being active, then that's the point of the interim champion is to stay active and have a contender and seeing who the number one contender is, but it's out of my control, unfortunately. He knows I can beat him and there is a lot of potential of me beating him, so I don't think he wants to risk losing his interim title, which I don't even understand that but, he wants to wait for GSP."
On his upcoming clash against "The Hitman:"
"He is dangerous, he's got good submissions. He has beaten a lot of guys, a lot of respectable fighters. I cannot take anything away from him and definitely cannot look past him at all. But, I will win the fight by TKO in first or second round."
No word on if the Ellenberger vs. Kampmann bout is a number on contender's scrap, but it is safe to assume that should Jake prevail over Martin, he will be top candidate to get next title shot. Rest assured, Ellenberger is not going to sit around and wait:
"After June, I definitely want to fight at least one more time here. So, I'm not sure what is going to happen but, I'm going to keep fighting and when it's my time, I'm going to dethrone the champion, whoever it is. I just don't think it is going to be Carlos."
With his hands full against Kampmann, Ellenberger has one more tough obstacle to get over, should he receive his long desired chance at obtaining UFC gold against either St. Pierre or Condit.
From the sound of it, it makes no difference to him who he faces.
Do you see any reason to believe Ellenberger doesn't have what it take to earn a title shot and dethrone the champion, whoever it may be? Or will the dangerous Dane derail all of his hopes and dreams in Las Vegas?