Darren Elkins continues to defy the odds.
After looking overmatched on the feet in the opening round of his bout with Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 124, Elkins turned the tables in round two. The Team Alpha Male product absorbed a few more punches during an exchange before catching a Johnson kick and taking his opponent to the ground. From there, “The Damage” went to work with ground-and-pound, forcing Johnson to scramble out of danger. Elkins capitalized by taking his foe’s back and securing a rear-naked choke submission 2:22 into round two.
“This was one of the biggest wins of my career and I think I am due for some respect,” Elkins said. “Michael Johnson came to fight tonight and we had a fun one but I had been practicing that submission throughout my camp. When the opportunity came, I took it and that’s how I fight.”
The come-from-behind triumph was reminiscent of Elkin’s improbable rally against highly-touted prospect Mirsad Bektic at UFC 209 and gave the 33-year-old veteran his sixth consecutive triumph at 145 pounds. That is the second longest active winning streak in the featherweight division behind only reigning champion Max Holloway, who has won 11 straight fights.
Holloway is scheduled to defend his title against Frankie Edgar at the UFC 222 headliner in Las Vegas on March 3. While Elkins realizes he probably isn’t next in line to face the winner, he believes he has done enough to be placed into a No. 1 contender bout at 145 pounds.
“I know that I’m not going to be the next one to challenge for the title but I feel like I’m close. I want the fight that gets me to the title shot next,” Elkins said. “I don’t care who. I know I’m ready. No one has a better win streak in this division than the champion himself, so I hope to see him soon.”