Pic: Joe Ellenberger (and his giant pencil) sign four-fight UFC contract

Twitter.com/JoeEllenberger

All in the family!

Joe Ellenberger is now a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster.

On the surface, it doesn't sound like that big of a deal, outside of the fact that "Excalibur" is the twin brother of top UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, until you consider how the budding mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter wasn't expected to live past the age of 30.

Ellenberger (14-1) was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) back in 2009, which can result in death from a blood clot in the brain, lungs or heart.

As a result, the two-time Division II All-American out of the University of Nebraska at Kearney was forced to take medication that costs more than most of us will earn in a decade, thanks to the rarity of the disorder. But it was money well spent, as Ellenberger has battled back and reached a point in his recovery where his blood cells are no longer dying.

That means it's time to get back to work in the 155-pound division.

After racking up an impressive record on the regional circuit -- which includes wins for Titan Fighting Championship and Victory Fighting Championship -- Ellenberger will now get to test himself against the best of the best inside the world-famous Octagon.

Considering he's already beaten death, I like his chances.

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