Darren Elkins has been with the UFC since early 2010 competing at lightweight. Since his hiring, the UFC has added three weight classes below the lightweight limit in the form of the featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight divisions.

Since the addition of the featherweight division, Elkins has made the drop following a 1-1 stint at 155 pounds. He fights this upcoming weekend at featherweight against Steven Siler at UFC 154.

“I felt that before I came to the UFC, I was going to drop down to featherweight anyway because 155 was getting really easy to make. Then the UFC called and I got the [Duane] Ludwig fight at 155 pounds. I knew the UFC is where I wanted to be, so I took the fight and eventually the 145-pound weight class came, so I dropped a weight class,” Elkins explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

One thing that Elkins has been criticized for since his drop to featherweight is his lack of finishes, despite being a finisher before his tenure with the UFC. In three outings as a featherweight, Elkins is 3-0 with three wins by unanimous decision.

Elkins (top) rains down punches (James Law/Heavy MMA)

“I would attribute that to the level of competition in the UFC compared to what I faced before I signed with the company. Right now, I am focusing on getting more power, but I am really just looking to win every fight by knockout or submission,” Elkins said. “I feel I am getting more power in my strikes now that I am adjusting to the weight class.”

Since his drop to 145, Elkins has taken out some tough competition. During his current three-fight winning streak, Elkins defeated the likes of Michihiro Omigawa, Tiequan Zhang and Diego Brandao, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14.

“Each win’s important, but I think the last win against Brandao was probably the biggest win of my career. Everybody was hyping him up and counting me out, so beating him the way I did was huge for me,” Elkins proclaimed.

Elkins does not want to bask in his past victories in the UFC. In fact, he is intently focused on his next opponent, Steven Siler, this weekend in Montreal.

“He looks like he is getting better each fight. He’s tough, well-rounded and he comes at you from the bell. He is definitely a tough opponent,” Elkins said. “His biggest win in the UFC so far was against Cole Miller, and that was a good win for him. I’ve had some tough fights too. I definitely think it’s going to be a good fight.”

Siler has won 13 fights by submission, which may come in handy against a wrestling-based fighter like Elkins. Elkins took notice of that, but knows his own capabilities on the ground.

“I know he is good with his chokes. He likes the triangle choke and the guillotine choke, so it’s something I focused on this camp,” Elkins revealed. “You just have to look at it and be ready for it.”

Elkins is on an impressive three-fight winning streak, but he continues to fight on the Facebook prelims of the card. Elkins seems optimistic that a win on Saturday could change that.

Elkins (R) delivers a right hand (James Law/Heavy MMA)

“I figure the winner of this fight will get a bigger name, maybe a top-10 fighter,” Elkins said. “It doesn’t bother me I’m on the Facebook portion. I would have loved to fight on FX, but our fight was the last one added to the card, so I figured we would be where we are, especially with all the Canadians on the card.”

Elkins’ only loss in the UFC has come at the hands of Charles Oliveira. That fight was contested at lightweight, but since then, both guys have moved down to featherweight. So, would Elkins like an opportunity to avenge that loss?

“If it comes down to it, yeah I’ll fight him,” Elkins admitted. “It’s always nice to get a rematch, especially against someone you lost to. If the UFC feels like that is something they want to see, you know, I’m down.”

With a UFC on Fox card in Chicago this upcoming January, Elkins, who lives somewhat near the Windy City, has reason to make quick work of Siler in an attempt to leave the cage as healthy as possible.

“I would love to be on the Chicago card,” Elkins confessed. “It’s only a half hour from my house (in Indiana), which is way closer than when the UFC goes to Indianapolis. Chicago would be a dream.”

Before he can even think about the slight possibility of fighting near his home, he must travel to Canada and get a victory. That will preserve his upper-echelon spot in the UFC’s featherweight division.

Darren would like to thank his family, his teammates and his management team.

Top Photo: Darren Elkins (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.