If you look at the landscape of the UFC’s welterweight division there’s Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit cemented at the top as champions. Below that the contenders list is strong, but no one may be more prepared for a shot at the title than UFC on Fuel TV 1 headliner Jake Ellenberger.
With five wins in a row, including his first-round knockout over former top contender Jake Shields in his last bout, Ellenberger is living up to his nickname as “The Juggernaut,” but there’s one person that’s not going tell you that.
That one person is Jake Ellenberger.
As strange as it seems that in a day and age when a ton of fighters are screaming to the heavens that they should get this opponent or they deserve a title shot, Ellenberger remains the guy who will just let the UFC decide when and if he’s ready to battle for the belt.
His statement is he knows that he can beat any 170-pound fighter on the planet. Title or no title, line them up, he’ll knock them down.
“I feel like when I’m mentally 100-percent focused and control everything that I do, as far as the intangibles outside of the cage, I can beat anybody in the world. The opponent doesn’t really matter to me,” Ellenberger told MMAWeekly Radio.
Since coming to the UFC, Ellenberger’s only loss was via split decision to current interim champ Carlos Condit in a fight he accepted on a month’s notice. But Ellenberger can’t think about Condit right now. He can’t think about Georges St-Pierre either.
He’s only got one name on his mind and that’s his UFC on Fuel TV 1 opponent, Diego Sanchez.
“I have no control whether that’s going to happen or not,” Ellenberger said about getting a shot at the title. “I feel like I can beat any welterweight in the world. I’m not looking past (Diego) at all. I haven’t thought about anything but him. I’m completely focused on Diego. The goal in the future’s definitely to be the champ, but I’ve definitely got a challenge. No looking past him at all.”
The reason why Ellenberger is so cautious about looking ahead is because he knows that Sanchez presents an interesting match-up for anybody at welterweight.
A crafty veteran of more than 15 fights in the UFC, Sanchez has never stopped improving and trains with one of the top camps in the sport at Jackson’s MMA. He’s also a fighter that doesn’t mind getting into the heads of his opponent’s with a strange intensity and anger that rises up just before facing off.
“He tries to mess with people’s heads and play games, but he does bring a tremendous pace, and at the end of the day you have to be able to match that or do something to counteract that. He comes to fight and he’s definitely a warrior and I’ve always respected that about him,” Ellenberger said about Sanchez.
“I’m prepared to finish this fight and I know I’m going to leave with my hand raised by any means necessary. Whatever it takes. If we get a finish, that’s great, but I’m expecting an absolute terror of a night.”
The end game for Ellenberger will always be about becoming UFC welterweight champion, but he knows that his win over Jake Shields won’t get him the belt. He also knows that talking about a rematch with Carlos Condit won’t get him past Diego Sanchez.
It’s all about this one night in Omaha.
“Everything I’ve done so far doesn’t matter. When we fight, everything I’ve done before that doesn’t matter,” said Ellenberger. I’ve always been sensitive to that.
“I have to do what it takes to win. Whatever happens down the road happens. I’m just focused on one fight at a time and destroying Diego Sanchez.”