Posts Tagged ‘UFC 126’
For rising welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, one thing is clear about the sport of mixed martial arts.
“It’s a selfish sport. It’s not a team sport. I can’t choose who I fight,” proclaimed the Nebraska native.
Coming off a victory over Carlos Eduardo Rocha on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 126 on Feb. 5, Ellenberger took some time to sit down with hosts Pete Sumulong and Cameron Chow for Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. The group discussed his recent win, as well as his thoughts on the UFC’s welterweight division.
Against Rocha, Ellenberger was matched up with a relatively unpredictable fighter in the undefeated Brazilian. With only one UFC bout under his belt, there wasn’t a lot of tape for Ellenberger to study prior to the fight.
“He’s a hard guy to fight and hard guy to predict,” explained Ellenberger. “I mean, I knew how slick he was going to be on the ground, but even his striking is unorthodox. He moved a lot.”
Despite the difficulty predicting his opponent’s attack, Jake was able to secure a split decision victory in the contest. And while two judges each gave Ellenberger two rounds on their scorecards, there was one judge who gave all three rounds to the Brazilian, something that shocked Ellenberger.
“I heard his name, but I didn’t hear the score. Your mind is kind of everywhere after a fight. After someone told me it, I was very surprised,” he said. “I couldn’t believe someone didn’t give me one round in the fight. Just shows you how uncertain the judging is in this sport.”
During the bout, Ellenberger feared that he had broken his hand, something that resulted in a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Although recently clearly by an orthopedic doctor to train again, the injury was something that Ellenberger was forced to overcome during the fight with Rocha.
“(The hand) started hurting in the second round,” described Ellenberger. “In my mind, it’s only 15 minutes and I have to finish strong. But I can’t let him know that I’m hurt. It’s tough fighting through injuries, but there’s a lot of adrenaline, and for me, I can fight through it. I tell myself that he’s hurting just as much as you are and to stay mentally strong.”
With the Rocha bout in his rear-view mirror, Ellenberger can now focus his sights on the rest of the UFC’s welterweight division. One fighter he would like to meet again is the undefeated Rick Story, who handed Ellenberger one of his handful of defeats just a few years earlier.
“He’s doing real well; been winning. I’m definitely a different fighter. If that comes up, I’d love to fight him again,” said Ellenberger.
Another fighter in Ellenberger’s crosshairs is current No. 1 contender Jake Shields. Since announced as champion Georges St-Pierre’s next opponent, Ellenberger has dished out his fair share of trash talk via his Twitter account. The approach is something that Ellenberger credits to being a fan of pro wrestling and the entertainment in confrontation.
His take on the GSP-Shields matchup?
“GSP will win that fight with a jab and a yawn. Easy fight for GSP,” predicted Ellenberger.
Elaborating on his hard-line stance toward Shields, Ellenberger had some tough words for the former Strikeforce champion, despite the fact the two don’t know each other well.
“We were scheduled to fight a few years back. I’ve seen his fights and for him to be considered one of the best in the sport is a slap in the face to guys who work hard in this sport,” declared Ellenberger. “Is he a good grappler? Sure. I’ve wanted to fight this guy for a while. I hope I get that fight after GSP destroys him.”
When asked about the possibility of a title shot in his future, Ellenberger was more than candid about his feelings.
“That’s not up to me,” he said. “I’m taking it one fight at a time. I have goals for this year, but I’m not in a hurry. I’ll fight whoever they want me to fight. This division is stacked. A title shot is the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jake Ellenberger joins Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. Hosted by Pete Sumulong and Cameron Chow, PDR airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 Pacific, on MMADieHards.com.
Catch the show live, or listen on demand immediately after the live broadcast.
Listen to Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network with Pete Sumulong and Cameron Chow Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 PT. On this episode, they reviewed UFC 126 and looked ahead to Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva.
Rear Naked Choke Radio came at you live from LA Boxing in Paramus, N.J. as the weather finally was unable to keep apart co-hosts Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton.
With Strikeforce in town, so was USAToday.com’s Sergio Non, who was an in-studio guest. Sergio’s MMA Fighting Stances has been around for over three years, and became the lead-in to, and a key piece of, USA Today’s newly expanded MMA coverage.
Special guest Mariana Wagner, a.k.a. @mizzle, joined the show and talk about her incredible 11-0 record picking UFC 126. She demolished the MMA DieHards celebrity panel of former Octagon Girl Logan Stanton, Five Finger Death Punch guitarist/founder Zoltan Bathory, and Houston Texans lineback Brian Cushing. Check out @mizzle’s picks and the celebs’ selections here.