Jake Ellenberger was impressive in his Feb. 15 victory over Diego Sanchez at UFC on Fuel 1, but after a difficult third round, some questioned rather he almost ran out of gas in the fight.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Ellenberger made it clear that his cardio was fine.
“At no time did I feel like I hit a wall,” he said. “I’ve done it before. When I fought Carlos Condit the first time, I hit a wall. I’ve definitely felt that before. I know what it’s like to gas.”
After Ellenberger won the first and second rounds, Sanchez rallied to claim the third. He took Ellenberger’s back in that final period and peppered him with punches while threatening with a rear-naked choke. Ellenberger still won the unanimous decision, though, and instead of attributing the one round he lost to conditioning, he credits Sanchez.
“He’s a great fighter and a great grappler,” Ellenberger said. “I made a mistake. I got too high and I fell off his back, and he took advantage of that. That is a hard position to deal with. It really is. It doesn’t matter if that was in the first minute or the last minute; if he takes your back in the first minute, you’re going to work like hell to get out of there.”
Ellenberger acknowledges that he was tired in the third, but he also said he could have kept going if the fight had been scheduled for five rounds.
“I know if we had to fight two more rounds, I could do it,” he said. “Because I’ve done it in practice. In training we talk about that a lot. We do eight, 10 rounds and you’re so tired, you’re just really getting used to that uncomfortable feeling. Was I tired? Yeah. I’m not going to lie. Yeah, I was tired. For sure. Who wouldn’t be tired? You’re fighting for 15 minutes. He was tired too. I could tell by looking at him he was tired. At the same time, if I think about myself going into the fourth round … I know he’s just as tired as I am. I do feel comfortable if I have to fight five rounds. Do I want to fight five rounds? No, not really. Who wants to fight for 25 minutes? I don’t want to do anything for 25 minutes, but I’ll do it.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:19:05).