Jake Ellenberger Says Bouts With Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck Are “Definitely a Possibility” in Hunt “to be the Number One Contender Again”
Believes Martin Kampmann Could Surprise “Little Bit Green” Johny Hendricks
By Kelsey Mowatt
These are interesting times in the UFC welterweight division, and thanks to the recent successes of several fighters, there is no shortage of compelling fights in a weight class that was once viewed as “cleaned out.” Case in point is Jake Ellenberger, who by scoring a unanimous decision win over Jay Hieron last month, ensured he remained in a welterweight contender conversation that includes names like Martin Kampmann, Johny Hendricks, Nick Diaz, and Jon Fitch, among others.
“For me, I’m definitely looking for relevant fights to be the number one contender again,” Ellenberger said on FCF Radio recently, who thanks to the win over Hieron now holds a 7-2 record in the Octagon. “Anyone in the top ten. There are a lot of guys that are possibilities, and after this last weekend, but, we’ll see. I’m open for whomever.”
Of course, one of the men who competed on the weekend Ellenberger was referring to was Fitch, who worked his way to an impressive unanimous decision win over the rising Erick Silva at UFC 153. The win returned Fitch to the winner’s circle, following his KO loss to Hendricks last December, and served as a reminder of the vet’s world class abilities.
“I was impressed by his fight this weekend; he looked solid,” the 27 year-old Ellenberger acknowledged. “He looked good everywhere. He’s a competitor and has been around; he looked good. I was scheduled to fight him a couple of years ago now but that fell through. He’s definitely a possibility. I haven’t really talked to my manager or Joe Silva much about what’s next….Like I said, anybody I have to fight to get back to the top I’ll do it.”
Another possibility for Ellenberger could be Josh Koscheck, who he was originally scheduled to fight at the UFC on FX event, until the latter got injured.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” said Ellenberger, when asked if believes the UFC may look to rebook a fight with Koscheck. “I haven’t spoke to my manager, Joe Silva or Dana (White), but yeah, it’s definitely a good possibility.”
Although Koscheck is coming off a split decision loss to Hendricks, and has failed twice to unseat champion Georges St. Pierre, the veteran remains a strong presence in the division. As a result, one might wonder whether a win over the outspoken and dangerous Koscheck, would resonate more loudly with fans than a victory over the lesser well known Hieron.
“This level there’s no easy fights; everyone’s going to be a tough fight,” noted Ellenberger. “Josh is maybe more well known. A lot of people don’t like him, and I don’t have anything to say about that because he brings it on himself.”
Of course, in defeating Hieron, Ellenberger became just the second man to hand the resilient vet a loss since June, 2007, and in doing so, joined Bellator champion Ben Askren. In addition, Ellenberger avenged a UD loss he incurred against Hieron, when the two were competing for the International Fight League in 2006.
“Overall, I’m happy with the win,” Ellenberger said. “I’m happy to move on and make some more adjustments. My strategy going into the fight was pretty simple; be patient, and really pick and choose what I’m going to open up. Jay’s a dangerous fighter.”
The victory also returned Ellenberger to the win column, after he suffered a stoppage loss to the aforementioned Kampmann in June. The defeat ended Ellenberger’s six fight win streak, and catapulted Kampmann into a number one contender fight with Hendricks on November 17th.
“I think he matches up very well,” Ellenberger said, when asked to assess how Kampmann will fare against Hendricks. “I think he’s going to surprise Johny. John’s a solid wrestler, and he’s got some power, but I still think he’s pretty new to this sport. He’s a little bit green. I was really, really, hoping to get that fight against Johny…I would not be surprised if he won that fight.”