Jake Ellenberger has started working on his life after his mixed-martial arts career ends.
But he can’t move on until he accomplishes his goal.
“If I become champion, I can be done,” he said. “That’s the only reason why I’m still in this sport is for that gold.”
The Millard South graduate will take another step toward a welterweight title when he fights third-ranked Rory MacDonald in “UFC on Fox” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Seattle’s Key Arena. Ellenberger is ranked fourth.
A victory would put him in position to eventually take on Georges St-Pierre, the current champion. St-Pierre has a matchup with Johny Hendricks in November.
Saturday’s fight is the co-main event, along with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson facing John Moraga.
Ellenberger (29-6) enters the fight on a hot streak, having won eight of nine bouts, including a knockout of Nate Marquardt in UFC 158 in March.
The 23-year-old MacDonald has won four straight and is 14-1 overall. But Ellenberger said he has more experience against high-level competition, which will give him an advantage.
That said, Ellenberger points out that MacDonald “has a lot of potential.”
The two share similar styles, but there are some differences.
The 6-foot MacDonald is a little taller with a longer reach and is more of a kickboxer. Ellenberger is more of an inside fighter and a striker who utilizes the moves he learned while wrestling for the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“I’m not really focused on what he does. I’m more focused on what I do and what I do well,” Ellenberger said. “It’s been working for me in the past.”
Ellenberger has added some spice to the fight with some of his pre-event comments. He called MacDonald “McDummy,” said he’ll be forced to eat baby food after they meet and said MacDonald will be horizontal during the show.
Ellenberger said it’s all in fun, but he’s been overwhelmed with media requests since.
“I’m not a trash-talker,” he said.
But he couldn’t resist one more comment about MacDonald, saying he has a weird sense of fashion.
“He dresses like Inspector Gadget,” Ellenberger said. “It’s kind of interesting.”
Ellenberger, 28, hasn’t lost his fire for fighting but said that after eight years of hard-core training, he’s had to start thinking about what he’s going to do next.
He’s been doing some media broadcasting training and taking some classes in California with vocal coach Arthur Joseph, who has worked with several actors and politicians.
Ellenberger said he’s building his skills for in front of the camera and also for speaking engagements. He’s already done a few things for Fuel TV and Fox.
“I’d definitely like to get into the analyst side of the sport,” he said. “It’s something I think more and more about the further I get in my career.”