Ellenberger to UFC: I’ll Fight Anybody to Get Title Shot

By Sherdog.com Staff Sep 20, 2011
Jake Ellenberger knew he’d beat Jake Shields. Just not in 53 seconds.

“Honestly, I assumed it was going to be a three-round war,” Ellenberger (Pictured, File Photo) said on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show. “I really did. I knew that he always comes in in phenomenal shape. He’s one of the best grapplers in the sport of mixed martial arts. I expected an absolute three-round hell, but fortunately, it was quicker than that.”

Ellenberger’s plan for the UFC Fight Night 25 headliner was to keep the fight standing and force Shields to strike with him. He was confident the strategy would work, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t respect Shields’ wrestling ability.

“He’s a good wrestler. He really is,” Ellenberger said. “People don’t realize he has underrated wrestling, but we [trained] a lot of scenarios with takedowns and also for me on my back. Basically, my strategy was getting back to my feet and fighting where I felt more comfortable.”

When Shields closed the distance, Ellenberger instinctively grabbed a Thai clinch. He had trained the position thoroughly with striking coach Rafael Cordeiro. Shields then shot for a takedown, and Ellenberger threw a perfectly timed knee.

“I knew he was looking for a leg attack or some way to get the fight to the ground,” Ellenberger said. “That [knee] was pretty much just anticipation. Going into the fight, I knew this whole time he was going to find a way to get the fight to the ground, which is definitely where he’s very good at. Going into the clinch, I just assumed he was going to keep coming into me.”

The knee dropped Shields, and Ellenberger followed up with a series of punches that forced referee Kevin Mulhall to stop the bout. Afterward, though, Shields disagreed with the stoppage. Ellenberger believes the call was correct.

“I watched the fight again,” he said. “During the fight, you don’t know. … I just fight until the ref stops. As I looked at it from a couple of different angles, he was definitely out.”

The win was undoubtedly the biggest in Ellenberger’s career so far. It was also his fifth straight in the UFC and positions him as a serious contender in the welterweight division. For now he’s going to sit back and watch the upcoming matches at 170 pounds, but his goal is already set.

“I’ve been so focused on Jake Shields, I really haven’t thought about anything past him,” Ellenberger said. “I told [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva I’ll fight anybody I have to to get my world title shot. It really does not matter to me. Diego, Koscheck, Fitch -- all the top-level guys, whoever the UFC gives me, I’m ready.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:15).

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