Forget what you think you know, Jake Ellenberger can go five rounds if needed.
At least that's what the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender told MMA Weekly in a recent sit down. "The Juggernaut's" cardio and overall conditioning came into question in his last bout against the Energizer Bunny that is Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel TV: "Sanchez vs. Ellenberger" earlier this year.
After dominating the first two rounds of the contest, it was apparent that Ellenberger's gas tank was slowly moving toward empty, while Diego was on the verge of a near comeback with an energy burst of his own. After escaping a few precarious positions, Jake went on to secure his unanimous decision victory, his sixth straight win inside the Octagon.
The bout was good enough to earn "Fight of the Night" honors; however, whispers soon began that the Cornhusker's cardio was not good enough to go into the championship rounds and had his fight with "The Dream" been a five rounder, he would have came up on the short end of the stick.
Ellenberger dismisses that notion and also says people need to take into consideration the toughness that Diego Sanchez brings to the table, after the jump.
"Well first I think Diego is an extremely tough fight. I think he's a tough fight for anybody in the world. He would be a tough fight for anybody who competes in MMA. I say that because you can watch this guy on TV and say wow he looks tough, but anybody who fights him and you'll see how tough he is. He's not going to roll over, he fights with a lot of heart and that's not that common. A lot of guys don't have a lot of heart and he definitely does. He definitely had me in a bad position in that third round. That's a very hard position, but I actually love that position. I do that position a lot myself so I know how extremely tough it is to get out of it."
Not deterred by people's opinions and habit of judging fighter's performances, "The Juggernaut" says that if he is ever put into the position that he has to go the full 25 minutes, it will not be an issue:
"In the last fight could I have gone five rounds? Absolutely. I think people need to take in mind (saying) ‘oh he looked tired.' Well, he had my back. That is the worst position to be in, in a fight. I'd rather be mounted than for someone to have your back because it's so hard to escape. I obviously escaped the position at the end of the fight, but could I have fought two more rounds? Absolutely. People can speculate but if I had to go five (rounds) I absolutely could. People talk all the time, I don't really care to be honest. I'm just going to control what I can control, and I'm going to prepare myself for five rounds knowing that this fight could definitely go five rounds. People are always going to judge and say what they want, and jump ship, but that's the sincerity of this sport. People like to make opinions and change their minds on very small things."
Jake will now take on Martin Kampmann this Friday (June 1, 2012) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 Finale from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"The Hitman" himself has yet to be involved in a five round mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, but has gone the distance in four of his last five, coming up short in two very close contests against Jake Shields and the aforementioned Sanchez.
Many felt Kampmann had done enough to win both of those bouts.
Both will now have a chance to test the effects a of a potential 25-minute fight as this weekend's contest will be a not-title five round affair. In a sport where leaving it to the judges is never a sure win, you can bet both Jake and Martin will look to end this one convincingly.
Anyone think Ellenberger is getting unjustly criticized for his third round performance against Diego? Will his cardio be a factor if his fight against "The Hitman" goes into the later rounds?