In today's crazy, sped up world it's nice to see a fighter who is simply along for the ride.
UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger isn't gunning for a title shot or even a contender fight, at least not yet. The 26-year-old Nebraska native is simply content to fight whoever the UFC continues to put in front of and to keep improving along the way.
His last fight, a back and forth battle with Carlos Eduardo Rocha, came down to a close judge's decision. The up-and-coming welterweight looks to show marked improvement since then.
"There's always places to improve," Ellenberger told The MMA Fight Corner presented by FiveKnuckles.com. "I've been improving a lot on my striking and my ground game. I feel real comfortable with my wrestling. I think I just need to keep evolving, keeping improving physically on my back and work my Jiu-Jitsu. But I've been doing everything, everyday. I take it one day at a time."
"The Juggernaut" entered the UFC in September of 2009 fighting Carlos Condit to a razor thin split decision loss. Ellenberger had Condit, the former WEC welterweight champion, rocked and staggered in the first round before Condit came storming back to take the fight, but many felt that Ellenberger deserved the nod.
Since then, he has gone on to win three fights in the UFC, including two TKO victories. He battered John Howard to force a doctor's stoppage when Howard was unable to see out of one of his eyes. With the three victories and the one controversial defeat, many are wondering if Ellenberger is ready to step in the cage with the elite in the 170 pound division.
"I feel I'm ready," Ellenberger said. "I've been training full time out at Reign in Southern California and King's MMA. I don't really, ya know, whoever I have to fight to get to that contender spot really. The welterweight division is deep. There's so many high level guys. There's a lot of guys I would like to fight. Thiago Alves, Jake Shields, [Josh] Koscheck, Jon Fitch, they're all top five guys."
Ellenberger had agreed upon a fight with Jon Fitch at UFC 126, but those plans changed once B.J. Penn ran through Matt Hughes at UFC 123. The UFC quickly set-up a fight between Fitch and Penn to headline UFC 127 in Australia. Ellenberger was left to fight the relative unknown Rocha on the main card of UFC 126. He was just happy to fight, although he would still liked to have squared off with Fitch.
"Initially I was a little disappointed," Ellenberger said. "Really I was happy to stay on the card and continue to be on the main card and fight. It was good for the UFC to do that. They didn't have to do that."
"I think Jon Fitch and I match up real similar. He's a very smart fighter and he's very good at controlling position and stuff like that. I think we match up very well. I'd definitely like to face him. I feel like I'm ready, like I've done the work. Ya know, it's up to the UFC now."
While Fitch is still on Ellenberger's radar, his main target is another man competing at Saturday night's event. Georges St-Pierre, the welterweight title holder and one of the best fighters of all-time, is eventually...