Jake Ellenberger: I Can Absolutely Go Five Rounds

May 29, 2012
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Jake Ellenberger UFC 126
It’s amazing how much difference one fight makes when it comes to judging a fighter on their overall performance.

Take for instance current UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit.

Through 27 wins in his career, Condit had only gone to decision one time up until his victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 143 earlier this year. In the fight, Condit was elusive and game planned perfectly to avoid Diaz’s move forward boxing style, and won a unanimous decision.

Still despite the scorecards reading heavily in Condit’s favor, many journalists and fans alike panned the New Mexico fighter for ‘running’ and ‘not coming to fight’, and he has been branded by these monikers in almost a permanent way ever since the fight ended.

Condit’s career statistics seems to speak loud volumes about his ability to finish opponents as opposed to this one fight where he fought a smart strategy and came away with a victory.

Well, count Ultimate Fighter Live main event fighter Jake Ellenberger as a fighter who understands what it means to be a ‘prisoner of the moment’ when it comes to post fight criticism.

In his last fight, Ellenberger dominated former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez for the better part of 10-minutes in their fight that headlined the first ever UFC on Fuel TV card. In the third round however, Sanchez battled back and ended up with Ellenberger in a bad position late in the fight when time ran out.

It appeared as the third round wore on that Ellenberger’s gas tank was depleted while Sanchez remained ready to fire on all cylinders.

See, despite the UFC’s recent decree that all non-title main events would be five round affairs, the bout between Ellenberger and Sanchez was only scheduled for three, and thus when the fight ended it was Ellenberger who won across the board because of his dominance in rounds one and two.

But after the fight, Ellenberger dealt with the brunt of criticism flung his way. ‘He can’t go five rounds.’ ‘Did you see his cardio fading?’ ‘If that fight had gone on for one more round, Sanchez would have finished him.’.

“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,” Ellenberger explained about the third round with Sanchez when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.

“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.”

Is the criticism fair or foul? Was Ellenberger’s cardio really failing in that third round?

“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,” Ellenberger stated.

“People can speculate but if I had to go five (rounds) I absolutely could.”

For his next fight coming up this Friday night in Las Vegas, Ellenberger may very well get the chance to prove that theory. He faces Martin Kampmann in the main event of the Ultimate Fighter Live season finale, and it is scheduled for five, five-minute rounds.

Of course like any fighter, Ellenberger’s goal is to put Kampmann away fast and quick in the first round, but if it doesn’t go that way he’s prepared for a 25-minute war of attrition.

“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,” said Ellenberger.

Ellenberger admits that in the sport of MMA just about everybody is judging on the last performance they saw. Good or bad, right or wrong, every journalist, fan, or critic alike can be guilty of being stuck as a ‘prisoner of the moment’.

Looking back at the Condit/Diaz fight, Ellenberger can sympathize with what the current UFC interim champion is dealing with.

“That’s the thing about this sport, people generally judge on one fight,” said Ellenberger. “I’m a fan of Carlos and honestly if I was going to fight (Nick) Diaz, I’m not going to stand right there in front of him and box him. That would be stupid, who would do that? I thought Carlos fought smart and he won the fight. He did what he had to do to win, and I didn’t think it was a close fight even. I thought he won that fight.”

So if people are going to question Jake Ellenberger’s cardio after one round of one fight that he ultimately won, he can’t do anything about that except train his hardest and if his bout with Martin Kampmann goes past the third round, he’ll happily prove every doubter wrong.

“People are always going to judge and say what they want, and jump ship, but that’s the sincerity of this sport,” said Ellenberger. “People like to make opinions and change their minds on very small things.”

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  • elguapo

    Well if people are asking questions then you’ve got to give them the answers. The beauty of mma is that there’s always going to be questions around a fighter. Even though Anderson has proved he’s one of the greatest of all time, people still think chael’s wrestling will cause him problems. Bones hasn’t fought off his back yet. People said JDS hasn’t fought anyone with the ground game of Mir yet, well, he answered the question. Actually, he didn’t answer the question because the fight didnt get to the ground, which kind of answers the question anyway in a roundabout way. Either way, if you’re a fighter and people are asking questions about your game it’s because you’re interesting and being talked about, it’s very much a positive thing.

  • elguapo

    Oh, and Jake by TKO in the third if anybody’s interested. 🙂

  • maddawgmar

    I’ll call BS on him being able to go five in the last fight. He was spent. But I think that is something he has worked on. So can he go five this time, yeah. But he won’t have the tank that Kampmann has. I don’t recall a fight where at the end of three Kampmann looked spent. Jake better put him away quick, because if Diego has the most heart and will in the division, which he does, Kampmann is easily number two. While either guy can take this fight, I have to go with my fellow “Dane” in the later rounds. Kampmann by decision or stoppage in the 4th or 5th.

    • At the end of the Diego fight, Ellenberger reversed the position and ended up on top. When Jake was on top at the end he looked refreshed. I think he caught his second wind there.

  • phrankthetank

    It’s not really a valid arguement. 1st off, he trained for and fought a 3 rd fight, much different from training for and fighting in a 5 rd fight. 2nd, he was fighting Diego Sanchez, that dude gets stronger and stronger as the fight goes on. I’m sure he’ll be ready for 5 rds on Friday.

    • maddawgmar

      I agree, but he said in the article that he could have done two more rounds in that fight. I don’t think so. I’m sure he has fixedthat for the five rounder coming up. But again Kampmann is like Diego, he gets better as the fight goes on.

      • phrankthetank

        True, it’s easy to forget pain and fatigue. Even if that night he couldnt keep going, looking back at it now he may not remember how exhausted he really was and as such can make bold statements.

  • Triggerman99

    Ok, wait a minute:

    “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 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.”

    Well which is it? You love that position, but then it’s the worst position and you’d rather be mounted? This dude is talking out his @ss. It’s OK to admit you were gassed. You can work on it and fix the issue. But trying to double-talk your way out of it and contradicting yourself in the process just makes it seem like you’re not being honest with yourself.

  • D-rail

    The fact that his tank has been questioned, and he knows this, is even more of a reason for him to have trained even harder by now. If it means title shot to make a statement, than I think he’s gonna finish in fashion. And even if he was to gas out by the fourth or fifth round, Kampman will probably have been KO’d by then. Jake can do much worse than Thiago did for sure.

  • Triggerman. He loves to be on someone’s back. He doesn’t like it when someone is on his back because from doing it to others he knows how hard it is to escape.

  • MR.F 956

    ellenbergers gonna runover kampmann.