Jake Ellenberger: 'I've Never Really Been Impressed with Johny [Hendricks]'

John HeinisSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2014

Mar 15, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Jake Ellenberger during the weight-in for UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger doesn't feel that divisional champion Johny Hendricks brings anything to the table he hasn't seen before. 

Therefore, "The Juggernaut" believes he's the ideal candidate to unseat "Bigg Rigg" at 170 pounds, per Submission Radio

"Just to be quite honest and be frank I've just never really been impressed with Johny. Sure he's had a lot of success in the sport of wrestling, so he's very mentally strong. But at the same point he's still developing as a fighter in my opinion. I thought Robbie (Lawler) you know, when Johny can't be the bully; typically with guys who fight in that sense if they can't be the bully it's hard for them to succeed ... But I don't see, no I really don't (Hendricks being champ for long). There's a lot of talented fighters in this division. I don't see him being champ for, in six months to be honest. By the end of the year he won't be champ."

Prior to capturing the vacant belt against Lawler at UFC 171 in March, Hendricks was set to battle Ellenberger in an unofficial title-eliminator matchup one year earlier at UFC 158.

However, Hendricks was instead given a title eliminator bout against Carlos Condit after Condit's original opponent, Rory MacDonald, withdrew due to a back injury, per MMA Junkie

Hendricks is 7-1 in his past eight contests, with his sole defeat coming in controversial fashion at the hands of longtime dominant champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167 in November. 

While many pundits felt Hendricks' takedown defense and heavy punches, knees and elbows had done enough damage to unseat the champ, two of the three Las Vegas judges disagreed. 

Meanwhile, Ellenberger, the No. 5 welterweight in the UFC's official rankings, is 6-2 in his past eight trips to the Octagon. 

The fellow heavy-handed wrestler scored dramatic knockouts over the likes of Mike Pyle, Jake Shields and Nate Marquardt, but he came up short against Martin Kampmann and the aforementioned MacDonald. 

Ellenberger is set to trade leather with Lawler at UFC 173 on May 24, with a convincing win for either fighter putting them on the short list of future title challengers. 

Will Ellenberger put his money where his mouth is and blow past Lawler at UFC 173 en route to Hendricks? Or will the "Ruthless" one stop him in his tracks?


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also thMMA editor for eDraft.com.