UFC featherweight Darren Elkins (15-2) has quietly compiled an impressive winning streak in an increasingly tough division since dropping down from 155 pounds, stringing together a quartet of consecutive victories including success against Michihiro Omigawa, Steven Siler, and Diego Brandao. This weekend, the 28-year old grappler is poised to take to the Octagon and put his unbeaten mark on the line once again when he faces Antonio Carvalho (15-5) at UFC 158.
Elkins recently took some time to talk with Five Ounces of Pain to talk about the tilt, his expectations if he’s able to come away with his hand raised, Anthony Pettis getting a title-shot without any wins in the division, and much more. Read below to see what he had to say…
5 OZ: Most of Carvalho’s wins have come via TKO but he’s also shown some solid grappling skills in the past. Without giving away too much of your gameplan, are there any specific areas of his attack you are focused on entering the fight?
I think we both mix it up well. We’re both going to come out striking and doing a little grappling, so we both need to be aware of that.
5 OZ: Carvalho will most likely be the crowd favorite based on his Canadian ties. Does that add any extra motivation?
I’m always motivated when the crowd roots against me. They may produce positive energy for him but I use the energy for myself. It definitely pumps me up and gets me going.
5 OZ: This will be your second straight fight in Montreal. Does that type of familiarity with the location/venue help in comparison to fighting in a completely new environment? How so?
I don’t get thrown off if I do go somewhere different, but it’s nice to go there and know where everything’s at.
5 OZ: Do you see a shot at top contendership coming your way if you exit UFC 158 with a win?
If I came out 5-0 in the division I’ll be the first person with 5-0 at 145 pounds in the UFC. I feel like that makes me deserving of at least Top 10 guys. I’m focused on Carvalho, so I’m not thinking too much about that but I definitely think I’d deserve that.
5 OZ: What is your opinion on Anthony Pettis getting a crack at Jose Aldo despite no success at 145 pounds?
I know he doesn’t have he any 145 but he was about to get a shot at 155. It’s not like he’s coming off a loss or anything. He’s coming off a nice winning streak.
It’s not my call. All you do is fight your fight and put on the best performances possible. I can see where that fight’s coming from. It’s a big draw. It’s not a fight that doesn’t make sense.
I think they’re showing how tough the division is. It’s a newer division so they’re showing the depth of it. It’s one of the toughest fight classes and I think people are starting to notice that for sure.
5 OZ: With the UFC seemingly focusing more on “entertainment” than wins, do you feel any extra pressure based on your recent victories coming by way of decision? What do you think it says about the sport to reward “brawling” as opposed to a more technical approach to competition?
Obviously is our job is in the entertainment business. If you can be technical and exciting, that’s better. Sometimes you get out there and you brawl, you let your emotions go and feel the crowd. I love those types of fights. That’s what people come to see.
It’s not even in the back of my mind. I go out there, I have a gameplan, and when the bell rings you let it go. Sometimes the plan changes but you go handle business and perform.
5 OZ: You’re five years into your career and on the cusp of entering your prime. Where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Hopefully I’m still competing at the highest level, at the top. That’s where I want to be. This is a business where you never know. Hopefully I can stay healthy and keep competing for years to come.
5 OZ: Based on stints in both weight classes, how would you compare yourself as a featherweight to yourself as a lightweight? Do you ever see a day where you might go down even further to 135 pounds?
I love 145. This is the perfect weight class for me. I thought about cutting down to 145 before but I’d fought most of my career as a lightweight and before I did I got a call from the UFC to fight at 155 pounds. And at the time the UFC didn’t have a featherweight division so it was an opportunity I jumped on but I always saw myself fight at 145 eventually. It’s not a bad cut for me. I think this is where I’m gonna end my career at.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC