Jake Ellenberger looked poised to take on Georges St. Pierre. All he had to do was put Martin Kampmann away after dominating him for the first round of their fight. It looked as if Ellenberger was ready to steamroll Kampmann at the beginning of round two. Instead, he got over aggressive and allowed the always dangerous  Kampmann to land a few choice knees that put his lights out. After getting so close to a title shot, it was back to the drawing board for Ellenberger.

On March 16th, Ellenberger is set to take on Nate Marquardt at UFC 158. Ellenberger looks to get back in the title picture before the road to contention is clogged with contenders. Already, the winner of Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit looks to get a title shot. What if Nick Diaz becomes champion? I would guess St. Pierre would be first in line for another shot.

The point is, if Ellenberger wants to get a shot at the title, he can’t afford to lose again and be knocked back down to the bottom of the totem pole. Marquardt provides a tough, well-rounded test for Ellenberger. If nothing else, Marquardt has shown solid cardio, which has been the Achilles heel for Ellenberger. It certainly seemed that he slowed down considerably in the Martin Kampmann fight.

Ellenberger may be a guy who just never has the greatest cardio. It’s easy to tell fighters they have to improve but there are fighters like Dan Henderson who have gone their entire careers without improving that area. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because that is simply the way their bodies are built. It doesn’t mean that Ellenberger can’t be an effective fighter. He just needs to learn to fight in a way that minimizes those issues. Ellenberger should be able to take down Marquardt and is a legitimate threat to dethrone Georges St. Pierre, if he should get a shot at the title.

What do you think fight fans? Get at me @samgenovese on Twitter.