Joe Ellenberger has watched his brother, Jake, compete inside the Octagon for the last several years, even scoring a main event victory in his hometown of Omaha over Diego Sanchez.
Now, it is Joe’s turn to grace the UFC, as he faces Vagner Rocha this Saturday night at UFC 172 from Baltimore.
Joe Ellenberger is 14-1 in his career and trains with Jake Ellenberger at Premier Combat Center. Jake was scheduled to compete this weekend, but he has been moved to a later card and will collide with Robbie Lawler.
“It’s a great feeling. (Signing with the UFC) has been a long time coming,” said Joe Ellenberger, in an interview with MMA Futures. “It’s cool to have Omaha on my back as I go.”
Ellenberger hasn’t fought since 2012 when he earned his eighth career knockout victory over Joe Wilk. He has won two straight since a 2011 loss to Justin Salas via decision.
He has overcome plenty outside of the cage after being diagnosed in 2009 with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, which is a rare blood disease that destroys the red blood cells.
Ellenberger returned to action in 2011 after finding a drug called Solris, and will now take his game to the UFC.
“Getting there was a huge step, a big goal,” he said. “Fighting on a UFC card is going to be a dream come true.”
You can listen to the complete interview with Ellenberger in the video below: