Some of the highlights of UFC Nashville were the knockout losses of two UFC veterans. Diego Sanchez was stopped in the first round by Al Iaquinta, while Jake Ellenberger suffered a brutal one-elbow second-round stoppage courtesy of Mike Perry.
Calls for their retirement came soon after the fights, and quite unsurprisingly, neither one was willing to give in. Sanchez addressed such urges in a lengthy Instagram rant. Ellenberger, meanwhile, chose to respond in a less aggressive manner.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been in this place before. Nobody can decide (but me),” Ellenberger told MMAJunkie Radio. “I’ve been a critic, myself, talking about guys and when they should be done, but it’s really no one’s decision but your own. The many ways I pictured that fight going, (getting knocked out) was never a thought.”
“That’s what makes this sport as interesting and unique as it is. I know what time it is. I know my door’s coming to a close, but that’s not how I want to be finished. I know what time it is. I’m 32. I’m not 22 anymore. But I still enjoy what I do.”
While he did not drop any names, the newly-retired Anthony Johnson spoke out after UFC Nashville about how some fighters would likely “forget their names by the time they’re 45.” But for Ellenberger, the Perry fight was simply a small hurdle in his career, which he foresees bouncing back from.
“For me, health is No. 1. My family, my son – these things are definitely the most important,” Ellenberger said. “But you have to ask yourself why you’re still in it, and do you have a date when you want to be done. People’s careers come to an end before most of them anticipate it in most professional sports. I think I have a good idea when I’m going to be done, and I think that’s a big part of the exit strategy.”
“If I’m struggling or not doing well in the gym, that’s an easy sign to the door. But when I’m beating everybody in the gym – everything’s going right right now. Everything’s clicking. What happened with Perry happened. But I haven’t missed a step. I’m not slowing down. I’m pretty cerebral. I had a great strategy. It’s one of those things – things were going very well for me, so it’s easy to say I’m not done.”
Ellenberger holds a record 31-13, with 12 victories by stoppage, and is currently on a two-fight losing streak.