Jake Ellenberger wanted to fight Johny Hendricks, and he’ll get the opportunity March 16 at UFC 158.
In an interview Wednesday with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Ellenberger discussed the matchup, title contention and more.
On Hendricks: “I’m not disagreeing with anybody who thinks Johny is the No. 1 contender. I’m not disagreeing with that because he’s put together the wins. At the same time, he did accept a fight with me, which is respectable on his part. I’m sure he doesn’t want to sit out for a long period of time. That’s definitely a fight that I wanted. That’s the fight that I asked for, but I’m not Joe Silva or Dana [White]. It’s up to them. At the end of the day, they make the decisions. I’m just really stoked I got the matchup.”
On title contention and getting a title fight: “There’s nothing that’s ever for sure. Until you sign a contract, you don’t know for sure who you’re fighting. And there’s always injuries, but that’s just kind of the way this sport is. That’s the way it works. You’ve got to be open to new ideas. It’s constantly changing.”
On his loss to Martin Kampmann and how far it dropped him down the welterweight ladder: “It’s hard to say. Six wins in a row was on top of the world. You’re really only as good as your last fight. It was very disappointing. Kampmann, he just comes back. He’s a super tough cat. It was tough to deal with. For me, it was kind of a test. How bad do you really want to be the best? How bad do you want to be up there? For me, I kind of had to take a look at myself ... and figure out what I can do to get better. Everything’s constantly changing. You can put together two or three wins and get a shot against the champ.”
On Hendricks calling him more dangerous than Georges St. Pierre: “I appreciate that. I’ve had nothing but good things to say about Johny as well. The guy’s dangerous. ... At the end of the day, when you’re in the cage and you’re fighting another guy who has the power to put you out in one punch -- granted you can get caught in submissions and transitions -- but if somebody can [land one punch] and you lose consciousness, that’s something to say.”
On who has the best shot to beat St. Pierre: “If you’re in Georges St. Pierre’s shoes, who is the biggest threat to his title? That would be Johny and myself.”
On why Hendricks has been successful: “The thing that Johny has that a lot of guys don’t is that he’s competed in wrestling at the highest level. He knows how to compete. He kind of fights with no fear. … I think the fact that he’s fearless in there makes him dangerous.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:01:29).