For his most recent camp, UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger has taken to working with Edmond Tarverdyan, the trainer who came to the attention of the mixed martial arts world as the eye watching over Ronda Rousey.
He’s helped guide the career of the women’s bantamweight champion and made her an undefeated force, and like Rousey, Ellenberger has taken some positive changes from the association.
He’s also spent some time training with Rousey, and come away impressed by both her skill and work ethic.
So much so, in fact, that he doesn’t hesitate when asked the popular hypothetical: Could Rousey beat male bantamweight fighters?
It’s a question that draws scoffs from some; not Ellenberger.
"Oh, yeah. She could and she would," he told FOX Sports. "I’ve known her for a few years but what really stands out with her is she works harder than most people in this sport. Male or female, it doesn’t matter. She’s always in the gym whether she has a fight coming up or not. And it shows. There’s no secret to success but hard work, and she’s one of the hardest-working people in the sport in my opinion. That’s really what’s stuck in my head from being around her. But she’s very skilled and very strong and she throws everyone. She absolutely could beat a lot of the guys in that division."
The question will never be answered for certain, of course, but it’s interesting that Ellenberger, who faces Robbie Lawler at UFC 173 next weekend, would go out on a limb so definitively.
Whether he’s right or wrong, one thing is certain: Rousey’s next opponent Alexis Davis has her work cut out for her when they meet at UFC 175 in July.