Breakout Fighter of the Year: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger

January 18, 2012
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Jake Ellenberger at UFC 129The fans voted and their voices have been heard. Jake Ellenberger is the Breakout Fighter of the Year for 2011.

By just a slim margin, Ellenberger edged out American Kickboxing Academy standout and Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finalist Daniel Cormier in the polls.

The UFC welterweight was excited to hear the news and attributes his hard work ethic to being recognized by readers.

“It’s awesome, man,” Ellenberger told about winning the award. “It’s definitely an honor to even be considered for that award. I’ve dedicated my life to training to be a world champ. I think the time I put in (and) discipline I’ve had (have) definitely showed a little bit.”

Before he even got to the UFC, “The Juggernaut” was already a veteran of the game with 25 professional fights under his belt. His UFC debut in September of 2009 was no easy contest, dropping a tough split decision to current interim title contender Carlos Condit.

Since the Condit fight, Ellenberger has made sure not to repeat the outcome of his promotional debut, winning five straight fights. In four of those five outings, he’s finished his opponent before the final bell.

The most significant win for Ellenberger has to be his latest one. When he fought Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 25, the Nebraska-born fighter finished the former Strikeforce middleweight champion in the first round. Ellenberger recently told that the Shields win was one of the biggest of his career, and, admittedly, he thought it would go the distance. Fortunately for him, the finish came a lot quicker than anticipated.

Ellenberger’s next challenge is another welterweight that’s made headlines in UFCs past. Diego Sanchez will face the Breakout Fighter of the Year at UFC on Fuel TV 1 on Feb. 15 as the evening’s main event. There’s a strong indication that a win over someone the caliber of Sanchez will propel The Juggernaut into the title picture for 2012.

But while he prepares for Sanchez, the fighter that trains at Reign Training Center and Kings MMA will soak up the recognition from fans as the man of the hour. He admits that he’s excited to receive such an honor and is grateful to UFC and MMA fans from around the world for picking him as’s Breakout Fighter of the Year.

“I appreciate it, man. I’m stoked,” he said. “It’s just cool – having grown up watching and looking at these big-time fighters – to be nominated for that… wow, I’m blown away.

“Thank you!”

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  • elguapo

    Agreed on this one. I think the fact he beat someone as highly-ranked as shields won it for him. Really looking forward to seeing him fight Sanchez.

  • Great year for him last year. Its too bad he has to start off 2012 with a loss. Sanchez will win that fight.

  • Mario


    Jake is focused, mentally ready. I see him smashing Diego.

    I hope he does, cause I hate that goofy lunatic!

  • Saaty

    Well deserved Jake!

  • maddawgmar

    I guess I’ll be the party pooper. I think Ellenberger had a good year capped off by the KO of Shields. Same with Cormier with Antonio Silva, but neither of those wins garnered a championship, or even a championship fight. Know Michael Chandler on the other hand came out of no where and beat a top five LW in Eddie Alvarez after being pounded for two out of three rounds. That win solidified him as a real deal. Plus he took the Bellator LW Championship away from Alvarez. That to me deserves more recognition than the other two. He beat a top ten fighter just like Ellenberger and Cormier, but he beat the Champ. Nothing away from though just my opinion, congrats.

    • Drock420

      Totally agree about Michael Chandler, he won the lightweight tournament and beat Eddie for the belt! He should be fighter of the year IMO. But congrats to Jake.

  • sb

    100%! He’s in my opinion is the most explosive fighter in MMA. Just a pure athlete who will only get better. We have yet to see the best of Jake.

  • yesitsron

    Well deserved. He should destroy Sanchez and then one more fight after that, then title shot.

  • RubeKegal

    Erick Silva DID punch Carlo Prater in the back of the head. FU Rogan ya Dana White puppet!!