Jake Ellenberger is currently resting on the eve of the biggest fight of his career.
Tomorrow night, the 26-year-old will face off against Jake Shields, who most recently appeared in action challenging Georges St-Pierre for his UFC welterweight title. Speaking recently with Thomas Gerbasi through the UFC, Ellenberger explained some of the reasons why he’s been able to stay dedicated through ups and downs to make it to this point.
“I have a number of motivators in my life,” said Ellenberger. “First of all, I love to compete. My twin brother Joe really got me into the sport and I started training and started winning and then I really developed a passion for it. But some of the things that have happened to me over the last couple years, like my brother being diagnosed with a bone marrow disorder, and things like that, I think those things really made me focus on what I’m trying to do and where I’m going in my life. It kinda just made a more clear picture. We’re not really guaranteed anything in this world, and I’m trying to spend all my time getting to that goal and getting that world title shot. It’s a passion and a fire inside that’s hard to explain.”
Ellenberger got the chance to face Shields after calling him out more than once. He explained that he never meant disrespect, just wanted what Shields had in being recognized as one of the world’s best welterweights.
“It wasn’t so much his style,” he said when elaborating his reasoning behind calling Shields out. “I just wasn’t sold that he was the top welterweight in the world. He’s extremely good at what he does, that’s for sure. But as far as an opponent for me, he’s a guy I’ve wanted to fight for some time now. And it’s crazy, but it’s a reality now and I’m honored to fight him.”
Ellenberger and Shields will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 25, which goes down tomorrow night from the Ernest N. Morial Center in New Orleans.