The last time 26-year old welterweight Jake Ellenberger felt the sting of defeat was September 2009 in his UFC debut. Since then he’s rattled off six straight wins including success against talented opponents like Mike Pyle, Jake Shields, and most recently Diego Sanchez. However, the highs he’s experienced since the initial low have done little to erase the memory of coming up ever so short on the scorecards more than two years ago.
The bitter taste is made even stronger by the fact the man who beat him, Carlos Condit, now holds an interim title and guaranteed shot at linear divisional champion Georges St. Pierre. Though GSP is out until November at the earliest, rehabbing from knee surgery, Condit has opted to sit and wait rather than risk his opportunity by taking on deserving challenger Ellenberger.
“The Juggernaut” offered up some perspective on how much the Split Decision loss to Condit still bothers him while visiting UFC Tonight last week, saying there was no opponent he wanted to face more than “The Natural Born Killer” regardless of any gold being involved.
“Our first fight, I took the fight on two weeks notice,” explained Ellenberger, before peeling back a layer, revealing, “I’m gonna be honest – that’s the fight that really keeps me up at night, makes me wants to work hard and motivates me. I know I can beat him.”
Since Ellenberger doesn’t expect Condit to come out of his cocoon unless St. Pierre suffers a setback in training, the idea of taking on Martin Kampmann is one he’s considered given their divisional standing. Kampmann is coming off consecutive wins over Rick Story and Thiago Alves.
“Sure, why not,” asked Ellenberger rhetorically when the subject of a scrap with Kampmann came up. “I feel like I can beat anybody at 170 pounds in the world and I’ll continue to prove that.”
Watch the full interview with the 27-5 Ellenberger below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC