(Does this look like a dude who should be deprived of what he wants? Pic: Sherdog)
As avid readers of our keen, in-depth statistical analysis, we know that you know that we know that Jake Ellenberger is currently riding a four-fight win-streak in the UFC. After going to Toronto and knocking out short-notice opponent Sean Pierson (just like we told you he would) last month Ellenberger remains undefeated since his split decision loss to Carlos Condit in his Octagon debut (a fight he appeared to be on his way to winning before gassing out) way back in September, 2009. Now that he’s home in Nebraska rehabbing the hand he broke on Pierson’s face, Ellenberger is going back to basics, returning to a strategy he adopted some months ago: Trying to trash-talk his way into a fight with Jake Shields.
Except here’s the difference: If not for that original loss to Condit at UFN 19, people might just be talking about a 5-0 (in the UFC) Jake Ellenberger as a potential top candidate to get a welterweight title shot one of these days soon. So now that Ellenberger is soaring and the Shields hype-wagon has been slowed a bit by his do-nothing performance against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129, maybe this booking wouldn’t seem so crazy. Hmmmm?
In fact, Ellenberger strikes us as sort of a perfect opponent for Shields at this point. Shields has long been considered one of the top welterweights (and maybe one of the top middleweights) on the planet, but before coming to the UFC he spent the last couple of years feasting on lesser competition in Strikeforce. Since his arrival in the Octagon, he frankly hasn’t seemed all that spectacular. Meanwhile, Ellenberger has been steadily climbing the ranks. We’re seeing a classic litmus-test situation for both fighters here.
As for Shields’ recent loss to GSP, Ellenberger tells Sherdog.com this week that he hasn’t even watched it yet. He says he will, but it sounds like he’ll do it more out of professional obligation than anything else.
“Will I watch it? Probably,” he said. “But I bet it’s going to go exactly the way that I thought. If they do make that match and me and Jake get to fight, he’s not a hard guy to figure out. I feel like I can beat him right now.”
You may remember that Ellenberger began singling out Shields as far back as November of last year, immediately following the former Strikeforce champ’s underwhelming promotional debut against Martin Kampmann. Ellenberger took his beef with Shields to (we mean, where else) Twitter and bombed away with such gems as: “Jake Shields, you’re as exciting as watching a bowl of mash potatoes get cold …Your days are numbered” and “Jake Shields’ cardio won’t be a factor if he fights me next. I won’t keep him around long enough to get tired.”
It’s too bad the UFC wasn’t offering cash bonuses for creative tweeting last year, are we right? Are we right?
Anyway, instead of giving Ellenberger (then just 2-1 in the UFC) what he wanted, the UFC teased him with a bout against Jon Fitch – only to give Fitch a chance at BJ Penn instead — before ultimately allowing him to whoop up on Carlos Eduardo Rocha and then Pierson (as an injury replacement for Brian Foster). Somewhere in there, Ellenberger reportedly lost his job as an assistant wrestling coach when the University of Nebraska-Omaha announced it would cut that sport while making the jump to Division I. It’s unknown if Ellenberger will be one of the coaches retained as most of the program (including the head coach and many of the athletes) decamps for Maryville University in St. Louis.
Signs point to no, since he’s talking like a guy who’s looking for a big pay day. Either way, it’s pretty clear what he really wants. Now it just remains to be seen if he gets it.