Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Jake Ellenberger will not go down as the greatest welterweight of his generation, but the 31-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, native has enjoyed a long and successful career (online betting).
His wrestling background has helped him become a perennial contender at 170 pounds, and given his unique set of skills, most notably his thunderous knockout power, it is not out of the question that he might someday become a world champion. A former United States Marine, Ellenberger kicked off his MMA career in 2005 after witnessing a friend compete in the Victory Fighting Championship organization. Once he dedicated himself to pounding on grown men for a living, he never looked back. Ellenberger cut a swathe through regional promotions like King of the Cage and Extreme Challenge before arriving in the International Fight League with a 12-0 record. He went 9-4 over his next 13 appearances inside the IFL, VFC, Bodog Fight, M-1 Global, Extreme Fighting Challenge and Bellator MMA, including a nine-second knockout against Brazilian legend Jose Landi-Jons.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship called in 2009, and Ellenberger has been a part of the UFC roster ever since. After losing his Octagon debut to Carlos Condit, “The Juggernaut” rattled off eight wins in nine outings and found himself on the cusp of title contention. However, losses to Rory MacDonald, Robbie Lawler, Kelvin Gastelum and Stephen Thompson left him short of that goal.
Ellenberger last fought at UFC 201 in July, when he stopped fan favorite Matt Brown with a body kick and follow-up punches in the first round, building on an already impressive resume. He has five post-fight performance bonuses to his credit, and no matter where his career goes from here, he has become the standard by which all other mixed martial artists from the Cornhusker State are measured.
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