After another false start, Joe Ellenberger set to make UFC debut in June
Joe Ellenberger has a debut date — again.
Ellenberger, who was supposed to fight Saturday at UFC 172 in Baltimore, will now meet Francisco Trevino on June 28 at UFC Fight Night in San Antonio, which will air on FOX Sports 1. The promising lightweight was pulled from the Baltimore card Saturday after opponent Vagner Rocha was the victim of a training injury just three days before the bout.
Trevino will be Ellenberger’s third potential opponent before even stepping into the Octagon. The Nebraska fighter’s initial adversary was set to be Yancy Medeiros, but Medeiros ended up fighting Jim Miller at UFC 172 when Miller’s first opponent, Bobby Green, withdrew due to injury and Rocha got the call.
Ellenberger (14-1), the brother of UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, has been on a UFC track for a long time. He was supposed to fight for the organization in 2009 before he was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare, sometimes life-threatening blood disorder.
Ellenberger, 28, didn’t compete for two years following the diagnosis, but he has responded well to treatment and, after going 4-1 on the independent circuit, the UFC signed him up in January.
"I guess it was like relief, but more like finally I get an opportunity to show everybody else what me and everyone around me has been thinking the last few years," Ellenberger told FOX Sports days after he signed the contract.
He had another false start over the weekend, but barring further incident he should finally be making his debut in two months. Trevino (12-0) is a tough opponent, coming off a decision victory over Renee Forte in his own UFC debut at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas.
Trevino, 32, hails from Edinburg, Texas, about three hours outside of San Antonio, so he might have the hometown crowd behind him. But, for Ellenberger, it is probably just a relief the UFC was able fit him onto an upcoming card so quickly. His inaugural fight in the company has been a very long time coming.