Darren Elkins could be the Rodney Dangerfield of MMA; no matter what he does, he seemingly gets no respect. The man is an undefeated featherweight that has defeated some tough guys along the way. With his resume, his name should be brought up in the top of the featherweight rankings more often than it is.

This weekend, Elkins makes his return to the cage when he fights Canadian Antonio Carvalho on his adversary’s home soil. This is Elkins’ first fight since battling Steven Siler at UFC 154, which also took place in Montreal. That means Elkins is fighting in familiar territory.

“It’ll be nice to be familiar with the area, but it’s definitely his home turf,” Elkins told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I look forward for fans cheering for my opponent, because it pumps me up even more. It doesn’t bother me; it’s not hostile to me. It’s actually just a motivator.”

Elkins (rear) works for a choke (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

One of the knocks that consistently follows the Indiana native is his finishing rate in the UFC. Excluding his win over Duane Ludwig, which ended in Ludwig getting injured, Elkins has only won decisions. He has been trying fight by fight to get that coveted finish.

“I’m always going for the finish; I have been getting closer and closer,” he said. “I don’t plan on fighting to a decision, but there is definitely some satisfaction to outworking a guy for 15 minutes. It’s his will against your will, so if your will prevails, that’s a great feeling.”

In facing Antonio Carvalho, he takes on an experienced fighter with good all-around skills and two straight victories over Daniel Pineda and Rodrigo Damm.

“It won’t be an easy takedown against Carvalho,” Elkins admitted. “I am going to have to test out my striking with him. He’s solid all-around, he’s good on the ground, he’s a good striker. But I think I will be a step ahead of him in everything.”

Of course, with the new UFC rankings that assigns numbers on the top-10 guys in each division, many fighters are worried about jockeying for position in the coveted rankings. Elkins, however, does not seem interested in the new concept.

Elkins has his hand raised in victory (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“I don’t worry about rankings,” he confessed. “It’s nice to be ranked in the UFC, but rankings are all just numbers and opinions. If I keep winning, I’ll prove I am rank-worthy.”

Elkins has been on a tear since dropping from lightweight to featherweight. He is yet to lose and has beat opponents such as Diego Brandao and Steven Siler along the way.

“I think a win over Antonio will give me great position at 145,” he said. “I would be the first guy that is 5-0 in featherweight history in the UFC, and that’s against good competition.”

With extreme focus, Elkins moves forward and readies himself for his impending bout. Whatever is in the future will have to be on hold for now, as Elkins is only thinking of one thing.

“I am so focused. All I see is Carvalho. He’s very dangerous. Until the fight is over, all I am thinking about is Carvalho.”

Top Photo: Darren Elkins (top) drops ground and pound (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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.