Jake Ellenberger sits in the top five of the UFC's welterweight division and could be as little as one win away from a title shot. His next fight comes at UFC on Fox 8 on July 27th against Canadian star Rory MacDonald, and Ellenberger was surprisingly a little dismissive of the 23-year-old in recent interviews. For instance, he told MMA Junkie Radio that he doesn't see MacDonald as his toughest opponent yet:
"I don't think this is the biggest fight of my career. It will be on the biggest stage, but as far as an opponent, I don't believe so."
"I think Rory gets a lot of credit, a lot of publicity, because he trains with, obviously, Georges St. Pierre, the champion – and he gets a lot of praise from Georges. But like I said before, I'm not real sold on him yet. He hasn't really been tested, if you will. I think Carlos (Condit) did, and Carlos came out on top.
"He definitely is a young kid with a lot of talent, but I don't mind being in this situation. It's not the first time I've been put in this situation where the expectations, they're always high for this young stud coming up, and he's got to prove a point."
He also said that he was told the bout would be for the top contender spot:
"As far as I was told, this is going to be a No. 1 contender fight. That's what I was told. Obviously that's not in writing, so you never know for sure, but really that's the only thing I'm thinking of."
Obviously that's an interesting scenario considering that Rory has said in the past that he wouldn't fight GSP. If this is a contender's fight and he wins, that might be the scenario laid in front of him if St. Pierre can get by Johny Hendricks. As for Ellenberger though, he continued to say that MacDonald hasn't beaten enough quality opponents yet:
"I don't feel any more pressure than usual. I've definitely faced a lot of quality opponents in my UFC career.
"I'm still not really sold on him, to be honest. For him to be as high up in the ranking as he is having not really fought anybody in the top 10? Condit was a legitimate opponent, but he didn't come out of the winning side of that one."
He does have a point, actually. MacDonald doesn't have the resume that a lot of the top 170-pound fighters have, and it still mystifies me that he's ranked as the number three contender in the official UFC rankings (one ahead of Ellenberger). But we'll get a clearer picture of where both men stand when they step into the octagon in July.