In wake of long-time UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre's hiatus from the sport, the division is wide open.
While "Rush" indicated he will be back eventually, one perennial 170-pound contender isn't completely sold on that notion just yet.
During an appearance on MMA Junkie Radio, Jake "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger weighed in on the current welterweight title picture, noting that he tends to believe we have seen the last of GSP inside the Octagon.
"To be honest, I don’t think he’s going to fight again,” Ellenberger said. “Who knows—he might. But whatever it is, it’s something outside that’s a big enough distraction mentally that he’s got to take a break. But it opens up a lot of doors at the same time.”
Ellenberger also noted that he supported GSP's decision to walk away and focus on his personal life, though he also admitted his leave of absence was "surprising."
The Team Reign Training Center standout, who is currently ranked no. 5 in the UFC's official rankings, always seems to be a win or two away from a title shot.
However, Ellenberger is currently closer to the back of the line than he has ever been, with a 2-2 record in his past four bouts, dropping unofficial title eliminator bouts to Martin Kampmann, and more recently, Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 8 in July.
The 28-year-old will wait in the wings as Johny Hendricks fights Robbie Lawler for the belt at UFC 171 on March 15, where former interim titleholder Carlos Condit battles Tyron Woodley on the same card.
Ellenberger was set to take on the last reigning Strikeforce champ, Tarec Saffiedine, at UFC Fight Night 34 on January 4, but he withdrew from the bout last month due to a hamstring injury, per MMA Fighting.
A matchup that could make sense next for Ellenberger is Matt Brown, who is currently riding a six-fight win streak that includes five knockouts.
Will GSP make a comeback in 2014 and recapture UFC gold, or will the French-Canadian superstar decide he has nothing left to prove and enjoy retirement?
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