Darren Elkins is a regular underdog in the UFC, yet he has managed to win four straight fights.
Most recently, he outworked Steven Siler for 15 minutes at UFC 154 to earn a decisive unanimous decision (30-27 on all three cards).
“I was a little bit of an underdog it seemed,” Elkins told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “He had a couple of good wins. I was coming off a three-fight win streak. He was too. Overall I liked the matchup. I thought I was going to be the better wrestler and I thought I was going to be the stronger fighter. It happened to be that I felt stronger than him and I wore him down.”
Elkins delivered another workmanlike performance, using his takedowns to nullify Siler’s striking and an active game on the ground to prevent Siler’s submissions.
“My first takedown I got on him was against the cage,” Elkins said. “I was just kind of working off the cage, throwing some knees, and when I went for that trip, I just felt like I overpowered him. From there, when he came in charging forward, I landed a few good double legs and just felt like I had my timing down that night.”
Siler was no slouch. He entered the fight on a three-bout win streak that included a win over Cole Miller. By outpointing him, Elkins scored his fifth victory in six UFC fights.
“I think I’m getting up there,” Elkins answered when asked where he stands in the featherweight division. “I think my next fight I need a bigger name, maybe a top-five, top-10 guy in the division and I hope they’ll give it to me. I think I’ve got to get a couple of those before I get really in the mix.”
It’s no mistake that Elkins has found success at 145 pounds. To make the weight, he has to stay focused, and the drop from 155 has worked well so far.
“I am a different fighter,” he said. “I have to focus a little bit more on my strength and conditioning and my diet. Since I’ve dropped down to 145, my diet’s changed a lot. The strength factor -- I am a lot stronger than almost everybody I’ve fought so far at featherweight, so that’s a huge advantage for me, and size-wise, at 155, I’m fighting taller guys and I’m usually the taller guy at 145.”
Elkins likes how he matches up with opponents in the division, but he’s still the underdog come fight time and that’s fine with him.
“Every fight I’ve had pretty much in the UFC, I’m the underdog,” he said. “The betting odds, I’m always at least a little slight underdog or a huge underdog. I love the role. It motivates me. I just keep training harder, and that gives me the motivation because everybody doubts me. It pushes me every day.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 35:35).