Jake Ellenberger thinks he has won the battle against Rory MacDonald in the buildup to their fight on tonight’s UFC on Fox 8 card in Seattle.
Now it’s time to win the war.
Ellenberger has gone far beyond anything he has done before in terms of trash-talking as his fight against fellow welterweight contender MacDonald approaches, and there are signs it may be working to his advantage.
Ellenberger, 28, said at Thursday’s news conference that when he and MacDonald were in the same room, MacDonald averted his gaze and looked down.
“I do, for sure (think I’ve gotten in his head),” Ellenberger said. “I think people take things too seriously. I’ve done that a lot of my career. I’ve been in the military, so a lot of my life is strictly in training. You might as well enjoy it. We’re still going to fight. Whether I say something or not, we’re still going to fight. And I gotta perform, which is exactly what I’m looking forward to.”
Much of Ellenberger’s work has been done on Twitter.
“Rory: Welcome to “Chez’ Ellenberger”. Tonight’s special is CANVAS SANDWICHES served FACE DOWN. Bon’ appetit,” read one post.
“Rory MacDonald: somebody who’s been broken more times than the weekend curfew at the dorms at Vassar,” he tweeted on another day.
Ellenberger also posted a message informing MacDonald that Sam’s Club was having a special on strained peas in between all the references to his sweater vests.
Then there was this.
“McDummy. Bad News: Fighting Me. Good News: Handicapped Parking.”
It seemed MacDonald had finally had enough, so the 24-year-old Canadian finally fired back.
“4some1 with such a week jaw u sure use it alot 2 talk (expletive) when ur done buildin ur self up ill b there 2send u back 2reality,” MacDonald posted, prompting Ellenberger to respond with a snarky post about the misuse of the word “week.”
And so the battle went, with Ellenberger aggressively going after MacDonald at every opportunity, including on a conference call last week.
“I haven’t said anything that wasn’t true, and my message to Rory is pretty clear,” Ellenberger said. “For him to start tasting some flavors of baby food and find which ones you like and stock up, because this isn’t the Tears for Fears look-alike contest. All I said to him was prepare for some horizontal television time, and I meant it.”
As entertaining as the verbal and written warfare has been, the fight is expected to be better. Ellenberger and MacDonald are two of the most explosive fighters in the division and have been on a tear lately.
Ellenberger has won two in a row and eight of nine, including a first-round knockout of former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt in March. MacDonald has won four straight since the only loss of his career, a last-minute knockout by Carlos Condit in a fight MacDonald was winning.
The winner very well could be in position to get the next shot at the 170-pound belt, thought it’s unclear if MacDonald would accept that fight if Georges St. Pierre, his friend and training partner, still has the title.
Ellenberger doesn’t think the issue will come up. He thinks the hype around MacDonald has not been earned and plans on putting a stop to it.
“He has been invented by the media and sold to the fans like a new Justin Bieber song,” Ellenberger said.
The bout is part of a card that airs live on Fox (Cable 5) at 5 p.m.
Demetrious Johnson defends his flyweight title against John Moraga in the main event.
Also, Liz Carmouche will fight Jessica Andrade in a women’s bout that is historically relevant as the first fight between openly gay fighters in UFC history.
Six fights from the preliminary card will air live on FX (Cable 24) at 2 p.m., with the remaining fights streaming live on Facebook at 1 p.m.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.