As far as Jake (The Juggernaut) Ellenberger is concerned, Rory (Ares) MacDonald has been overrated by the media for some time.
Though the heavy-handed welterweight contender puts little stock in the UFC’s official rankings, he shakes his head at MacDonald being ranked above him.
The B.C. native currently holds the No. 3 spot, while Ellenberger sits at No. 4.
“I think the media has helped Rory out a lot. So good for him. I don’t mind it at all,” Ellenberger said in a phone interview.
“The biggest thing would be he trains with the champ, GSP. He definitely has him in his corner — and that’s a good thing.
“Is it surprising? No. GSP’s one of the best that the sport has ever seen, in any weight class. That’s definitely a good person to have in your corner.
“But when people start making ridiculous comments like Rory is GSP v2.0, I think to myself, ‘On what planet?’ If he and GSP fought, it wouldn’t even be a good fight. GSP would do whatever he wanted to.”
It’s clear Ellenberger isn’t sold on the hype surround the 23-year-old standout.
Though the former NCAA Division II wrestler said MacDonald hasn’t earned his spot among the welterweight’s elite, he doesn’t deny the Tristar fighter’s potential.
“Absolutely, there’s no question about that. He’s got a lot of potential,” Ellenberger said.
“He’s a young kid, he’s shown you his heart, he’s tough and he’s definitely skilled. I acknowledge the fact that he’s a talented fighter, but we haven’t seen him fight top-level competition. That’s still kind of the grey area.”
MacDonald earned arguably the biggest victory of his career in December, winning a dominant unanimous decision over B.J. Penn.
However, Ellenberger referred to MacDonald calling Penn out as a “bully tactic.”
“I’ve trained with B.J., he’s a good guy,” Ellenberger said.
“You saw how that fight with Rory went, it didn’t go (Penn’s) way. But to be honest, it wasn’t very surprising. B.J.’s a (lightweight). He walks around at 168. There’s no reason he should be fighting at 170.
“It was kind of a bully tactic, calling B.J. Penn out. What B.J. has done, speaks for itself — for him to be at the end of his career and a legend in this sport. It was just kind of a bully move.”
Ellenberger said he aims to expose MacDonald when the two meet in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle on July 27. The card will be headlined by a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga.
Though their date in the cage has been set, the two recently engaged in an entertaining war of words via Twitter.
“Which round is Rory getting melted?” Ellenberger wrote.
“4some1 with such a week jaw u sure use it alot 2 talk s--- when ur done buildin ur self up ill b there 2send u back 2reality,” MacDonald responded.
“McDummy.. Unless you are using a unit of time as an adjective, the word is “weak”, not “week”, Stupid,” Ellenberger countered.
“Let me proof-read your inane comments from now on, y’idiot,” he continued.
“Dont fool yourself jacob correcting internet spelling wont change your fate,” MacDonald replied.
Ellenberger admitted he was ecstatic to see MacDonald fire back.
“When I saw his response to me, my first emotion was, ‘Yes! I got him,’” Ellenberger said.
“It’s kind of funny to engage Rory, he’s not really an outspoken guy. I was actually surprised he responded to me. I spoke the truth in terms of how I feel this fight is going to go. So whether he takes that personally, that’s on him.”
Though the two fighters aim to settle their score next month, there is more on the line than just pride. The winner is expected to be named No. 1 contender and could lock horns with the victor of November’s title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks.
Ellenberger said it’s his dream to fight for the championship, but he isn’t looking past MacDonald.
“It’s hard not to (think about a title shot),” Ellenberger said. “It’s exciting that the GSP-Hendricks match has been made. It’s hard not to think about, but you really can’t. I, in absolutely no way, am looking past Rory. That’s definitely a tall task, but I’m completely focused on this fight. With all going well, we can move forward from there.”
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July 13, with a list price of $14.95.