UFC Fight Night 34: Tarec Saffiedine expects win over Jake Ellenberger to be 'huge' for his career

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the shuffle of a crowded welterweight division is Strikeforce import and 170-pound dark horse Tarec Saffiedine.

Tarec Saffiedine doesn't pay attention to rankings.

Fortunately for the Belgian brawler, we do, and know that his opponent, Jake Ellenberger, is currently ranked at number five in the world at 170 pounds, according to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) "official" rankings (see the entire list here).

Saffiedine has yet to crack the top 10.

"The Sponge" expects that to change when registers his first win over "The Juggernaut" in the main event of UFC Fight Night 34, which takes place on Jan. 4, 2014 live on FOX Sports 1 from Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

From his conversation with Bloody Elbow:

"I don't do the rankings, but I assume a win over Jake will put me right up there and that's what I'm looking for. Fighting the top fighters like Jake. A win against Jake is going to be huge for my career. Everyone in the top 10 is a really tremendous fighter, and I can't wait to face those guys. That's why I came to the U.S. That's why I left Belgium, to fight guys like Jake, to fight guys in the top 10. I didn't want to come to the U.S. and fight on low level shows. I wanted to fight the best guys, and that's why I am excited to be part of the UFC. I can't wait to showcase my skill."

He's got a great sparring partner.

Saffiedine hasn't competed since capturing the Strikeforce welterweight title against Nate Marquardt at the final Strikeforce event earlier this year. He was expected to face Robbie Lawler at UFC on FOX 8, but was forced to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury.

Now he's back ... but is he better than ever?

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