Brian Ebersole: The Welterweight division’s dark horse
Whenever Brian Ebersole fights, the American welterweight who trains in Melbourne usually ends up being one of the main talking points coming away from the event.
That was the case when he debuted on short notice against Chris Lytle at UFC 127.
Out of the gate, the “hairrow” shaved into his chest and the cartwheel kick he delivered were conversation starters, but by the time the bout came to a close, the dominant performance the one-of-a-kind veteran turned in while earning the victory had become the major narrative after the contest.
While Dennis Hallman’s choice of attire (or lack thereof) got the attention to begin their bout at UFC 133, Ebersole’s ability to survive an early choke attempt to finish the bout in the first and earn his second consecutive UFC win garnered its fair share of attention post-fight.
Ebersole’s third UFC bout was originally to be against rising Canadian prospect Rory MacDonald at UFC 140 in Toronto, a sign that the organization was impressed with what “The White Anderson Silva (TWAS)” had delivered to that point. But MacDonald was forced from the bout with an injury, replaced by Claude Patrick, and while he and Ebersole went back-and-forth over the full 15 minutes, the contest, which Ebersole won by split decision, wasn’t nearly as memorable as the 31-year-old’s first two appearances inside the Octagon.
He did get the win, however, pushing his record to 3-0 in the UFC, and extending his winning streak to double digits, and giving him 14 victories in his last 15 fights. Which brings us to this weekend, where Ebersole is preparing to step into the cage to take on up-and-coming submission specialist TJ Waldburger on the main card of the UFC on FX 4 fight card.
Despite his run of success – both inside and outside of the UFC – his colorful, vibrant personality, and penchant for delivering memorable performances, no one seems to be talking about Ebersole as a contender in the deep and treacherous welterweight division, and I can’t understand why.
In his first three appearances, Ebersole has shown that he has the ability to finish or grind out a win, and the type of well-rounded skill set necessary to challenge in the highly competitive 170 pound ranks. With more than 50 fights under his belt across a number of weight classes, organizations, and outposts around the globe, there isn’t much that is going to surprise Cage Fighting Championships standout inside the cage.
While their may be fighters with more buzz behind them and a longer track record of success in the UFC, make no mistake about it, Ebersole shouldn’t be overlooked in the welterweight title chase.
A victory over Waldburger on Friday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey may not be enough to push Ebersole into the title conversation, though it should be noted that his 24-year-old opponent has earned impressive first-round finishes in each of his last two outings.
Maintaining his momentum with another win this weekend will put Ebersole in line for a step up in competition next time out, at which point he’ll likely be facing an opponent who sits inside the Top 20, if not the Top 10 in the organization.
When you get to that point, you’re a contender, and someone people should definitely be keeping an eye on. Personally, I think Ebersole is already there; he just hasn’t had a chance to prove it completely as of yet.
That time could come if he’s able to win this weekend, and leave people talking about his performance once again.
Follow The Roar’s UFC Expert E. Spencer Kyte on Twitter (@spencerkyte).