UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger has established himself as a force in the organization’s always-deep division over the past few years, compiling a 7-2 mark in the Octagon since making his debut including wins over Mike Pyle, Diego Sanchez, and Jake Shields. However, a 2012 loss to Martin Kampmann slowed his ascension through the ranks, forcing Ellenberger to start over in his quest for a championship.
With a victory over Jay Hieron already under his belt, the 27-year old has a chance to get back into the hunt at 170 pounds when he faces Nate Marquardt at UFC 158. Though Ellenberger took the tilt on short notice when original opponent Johny Hendricks was shifted to a different scrap, “The Juggernaut” isn’t concerned about the change considering the confidence he has regarding his own abilities.
“In my mind, when I’m at my best, I can beat anybody in the world at 170 and I’ve gotta prove it. It’s not a matter of who – it’s a matter of when and where,” explained Ellenberger in an interview with the UFC. “I don’t know if I’m the best welterweight in the world right now but I know I can beat anybody…and I know I can beat Nate Marquardt.”
While Ellenberger may see success as a foregone conclusion, that doesn’t mean he’s overlooking the former Strikeforce champion’s skill-set or reputation. Rather, the 28-6 Ellenberger has a great deal of respect for what Marquardt brings to the table.
“He’s a very well-rounded fighter. I couldn’t tell you somewhere he stands out where he’s weak. He’s a veteran too. He’s been fighting for a long time,” said Ellenberger of Marquardt’s qualities, adding, “I’ve gotta beat him to prove that I’m a contender for the title.”
The full interview with Ellenberger can be seen below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC