When Jake Ellenberger first made his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut at "Fight Night 19," not much was known about the two-time collegiate Division II All-American wrestler as he stepped foot inside the Octagon, back on Sept. 16, 2009 from the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
But he was no stranger to mixed martial arts (MMA).
Already a veteran of several notable combat sports promotions, including International Fight League (IFL), King of the Cage (KOTC), M-1 Global and even Bellator MMA, Ellenberger had already compiled a 21-4 record with a staggering 18 finishes.
There was a reason they called him "The Juggernaut."
It was those credentials, as well as Carlos Condit's razor-thin loss to Martin Kampmann, that drew "The Natural Born Killer" for Ellenberger's first foray inside the Octagon. He would come up short on the judges' scorecards by way of narrow split decision, but his performance against the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) welterweight champion put the rest of the division on notice.
Apparently, not all of them were paying attention.
Ellenberger went on a torrid four-fight win streak, earning three more finishes in the process, and setting himself up for his first-ever UFC main event at "Fight Night 25" on Sept. 17, 2011 from the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Once again, he would be asked to face off against a former champion.
Jake Shields was on the rebound after going five rounds in a losing effort to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129 in Toronto. The former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder was a -230 favorite over Ellenberger and rightly so. Shields wore straps in just about every promotion he competed for (sans UFC), including the 170-pound title for EliteXC.
In spite of his father's untimely death, fans and pundits picking against Ellenberger assumed Shields couldn't be finished. After all, it had only happened once across the span of 30 fights, and that was over 10 years before he stepped into the cage in "The Big Easy."
And his jiu-jitsu was top of the food chain.
Not that he ever got a chance to use it. Shields initiated the clinch in the opening minute of their headlining affair, weary of the disadvantage in striking, and found himself tossed aside like yesterday's trash. Once again the former 185-pounder tried to take things south, but was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Getting the former Maverick to the ground turned into a daunting affair for the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter.
Ellenberger probably figured if his opponent wanted to go to the floor so badly, he would lend a hand. Or as it was in this case, a knee. One crack on the crown and Shields was Supermanning for a leg. A follow-up barrage of violent strikes from "The Juggernaut" and referee Kevin Mulhall had seen enough.
Considering Shields was still shooting on the man in black, there was no disputing the stoppage, which took less than a minute.
In one humid night in New Orleans, Jake Ellenberger went from promising up-and-comer to dangerous division contender. He would win three of his next four, stumbling against Martin Kampmann in June 2012, but got right back into the thick of things by pasting Nate Marquardt at UFC 158 last spring.
It was a "Great" win over yet another former champion.
But whether or not Ellenberger (29-6) can stop beating up former titleholders and start beating up current ones largely depends on how well he does in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 8, which takes place at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, on July 27, 2013.
Rory MacDonald (14-1) will be waiting.
"Ares" knows a thing or two about knocking around ex-champs. His three-round assault against fading legend B.J. Penn last December catapulted him to the top of the pecking order and straight into a slugfest against Ellenberger. The winner may be in line for a shot at the division title.
And judging by this "fake" post, their fight has already begun.