Next Wednesday, Jake Ellenberger will take his likely final step toward his shot at the welterweight title when he takes on perennial contender Diego Sanchez at UFC on FUEL TV 1.
The duo will meet in Ellenberger's hometown of Omaha, Neb., at the Omaha Civic Auditorium before an adoring crowd that will likely be pro-"Juggernaut."
The welterweight heavy-hitter is rife with talent and with a victory will prove that he has the right stuff to contend for the title in the near future.
After his UFC debut loss to Carlos Condit, which saw Ellenberger visibly tire as the fight wore on, the Kings MMA fighter has shown a new facet to his game.
The improved cardio of the Omaha native has become one of his better assets. Rarely can any opponent withstand the crushing power of the big man, though now his foes will have to be well aware that Ellenberger will remain vigilant for every minute of the fight.
Among his peers in the welterweight class, no man so far has been able to match the size and strength of "The Juggernaut."
Ellenberger has displayed in the clinch that his innate strength is unrivaled, and the 26-year-old is far from his prime as a mixed martial artist, which spells trouble for all others.
In the past, Ellenberger has competed as high as middleweight, where he scored a TKO over Brian Uker under the IFL banner some years ago.
In his debut with the organization, Ellenberger displayed why he was a sought-after welterweight prospect, taking on former WEC champion Carlos Condit in his first outing with the UFC.
Ellenberger rocked and dropped Condit in the early going of the bout, having his way with "The Natural Born Killer" in the first before his lack of cardio got the best of him.
Since then, Ellenberger has scored knockout victories over the likes of Mike Pyle, Sean Pierson and former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields—finishing off the world-renowned fighter in just 53 seconds.
He's never garnered any national titles, though Ellenberger has shown that his Division II collegiate wrestling skills have been enough to be successful in mixed martial arts.
The budding contender didn't take up wrestling until he entered the University of Omaha, becoming a walk-on for the college wrestling team.
Since then, he's used those skills and applied them to the MMA world, where he has emerged on the short list of title contenders in the UFC.
Coupling his wrestling with his knockout prowess, Ellenberger has shown that if he can't finish the fight on the fight, he is more than capable of ending the action on the mat.
His first victory inside the Octagon came at the expense of veteran Mike Pyle, who wilted under the staggering ground-and-pound blows of the big man, who earned the TKO finish 22 seconds into the second round.
With the whole lot of his skills, Jake Ellenberger has the right stuff to finish an opponent the caliber of Diego Sanchez.
Only one man has done it before. Former two-time world champion B.J. Penn stopped Sanchez with head kick, which resulted in a nasty cut in their lightweight tilt some years ago.
This time, Sanchez meets a man who is bigger and stronger who wields decent cardio and head- severing knockout power. Ellenberger has all the ingredients to stop Sanchez, and should he, it should get the California transplant his long-awaited title shot.