Jake Ellenberger Says Bout with Jake Shields “Nothing Personal”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Shortly after Jake Shields scored a narrow, split decision win over Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut last October, it didn’t take long for welterweight Jake Ellenberger to begin calling out the veteran fighter. In fact, some of the comments Ellenberger fired in Shields direction at the time, weren’t exactly complimentary of the former Strikeforce champ’s abilities.
Yesterday, however, the UFC confirmed that a bout between the two accomplished welterweights will headline the promotion’s upcoming September 17th Fight Night card in New Orleans. So how does Ellenberger truly feel about Shields now that his wish is finally coming true?
“I definitely have a lot of respect for Shields,” Ellenberger told FCF today. “He’s a multiple time champion and he’s a great fighter. I’m just really excited that they went ahead and made this match-up.”
“It’s nothing personal against Shields at all,” Ellenberger added. “Now that the UFC has given me this opportunity though I’m going to show that I’m the better fighter.”
Of course, anyone who is familiar with the accomplishments of Shields (26-5-1) understands that there are not many better ways to make a statement about your own abilities, then to defeat a man who has lost just twice since 2002. Especially for someone like Ellenberger, who has scored victories over Mike Pyle, John Howard, Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Sean Pierson since arriving in the UFC, with his only loss coming by a narrow, split decision to Carlos Condit.
“I think it would put me definitely in the mix,” said Ellenberger (24-5), while discussing whether a win over Shields would put him within striking distance of a title shot. “That’s up to the UFC but a win over a top guy like Shields should definitely get me close. Just have to take it one fight at a time really.”
Shields will be fighting for the first time since he lost by unanimous decision to champion Georges St. Pierre in April, which ended the Cesar Gracie fighter’s impressive 15 fight win streak. Shields’ inability to take St. Pierre down proved to be his undoing, and Ellenberger is confident that his wrestling abilities will also be the deciding factor come September 17th.
“No, I really don’t,” said Ellenberger, when asked if he believes Shields will be able to take him down and impose his renowned top game. “My strategy is going to be really simple; people are going to argue about who’s the better grappler, who’s the better striker, it’s all subjective, but what I know is that he’s going to have to take this fight to the ground in order to beat me. That’s a fact.”
“I think I’m going to probably do what GSP did and that’s make him strike with me,” Ellenberger furthered. “Just wait for him to make a mistake and capitalize on the opportunity.”
The strategy St. Pierre employed against Shields in April drew criticism from some, despite the fact that the champion incurred an eye injury early on in the bout.
“I can’t really take sides on that,” Ellenberger noted. “I’m not in GSP’s position and I don’t know how I would fight if I was. He definitely fights conservatively but he also does what it takes to win, so you can’t really criticize too much.”
UFC Fight Night 25: “Battle on the Bayou” will be hosted by New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and will be broadcast live on Spike.