UFC 158 in March has the making of a blockbuster card with three high-profile welterweight matchups already signed for the event.
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will be featured in the main event against Nick Diaz, while Johny Hendricks will look to make it six wins in a row against Jake "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger.
In the third welterweight showdown, Carlos Condit will face off against Rory MacDonald in a rematch of their fight in 2010 at UFC 115.
In an appearance on MMAWeekly radio, Ellenberger expressed his gratitude for the fact that "Bigg Rigg" decided to stay active rather than wait on the sidelines until he was given a title shot (transcription via MMA Mania).
He could've easily said, 'No way, I'm not going to do it.' But, I don't think he likes to sit out for a year as well as myself. But, props to him for stepping up and taking the fight where there's a lot to lose and not much to gain for him. I give more respect to him for taking the fight.
Ellenberger, who has won seven of his past eight fights inside the Octagon, looks forward to defeating Hendricks to put himself back into title contention.
There's not other guys in the division that would want this fight and I was asking for it. We're similar styles, you know what I mean? And, nobody wants this super tough fight I think, but, there's no point in wasting your time. If you want the best in the world, and if he is that guy, that's who I want to fight. He's beaten the best guys in the division. He's in this division for a reason. There's definitely not a faster way to get to that title fight than to fight the top three or four guys in the division and you can't argue he is top three.
During his current win streak, Hendricks has defeated fellow contenders Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann, knocking out Fitch and Kampmann in under a minute.
Despite Hendricks' strong case to be next in line to challenge for welterweight gold, Nick Diaz will be fighting GSP for the belt at UFC 158 next year.
Ellenberger had looked to be one win away from a title shot after winning six in a row upon entering The Ultimate Fighter 15 finale in June, but Kampmann scored a come-from-behind knockout to pull off the upset.
He then rebounded with a decision win over Jay Hieron at UFC on FX 5 in October.
Does Ellenberger stand a legitimate shot at beating Hendricks, or will he simply be another recipient of a quick one-punch KO?