Tim Elliott is set to return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 161 this Saturday for the first time since December 2017.
Since his win over Mark De La Rosa at UFC 219, he has been recovering from a serious knee injury after tearing his ACL, MCL, LCL and meniscus. After a long recovery process, Elliott (15-8-1) will make the walk against an opponent he wanted.
"This is a fight I went after. As soon as [Figueiredo] fought Pantoja I messaged my manager for it," Elliott told Sherdog.com. "This is the first time in the UFC I got a fight I called for. Stylistically this is a very good fight."
Although Deiveson Figueiredo (16-1) has only one loss, Elliott believes he can make it two. He knows it is a good stylistic matchup for him and will show that on Saturday.
"I don’t watch tape, I let my coaches do that. Joseph Benavidez was supposed to fight him so I have talked to him. We know what we have to do. We have to move, and my thing is not getting hit," he explained. "He is too slow and won't be able to touch me. All I have to do to win this fight is get out of the first round. If I can drag this guy to deep waters, he gets tired and slow. I know how to fight, I can go three hard rounds and can beat this guy."
Elliott expects his cardio will be a major factor in this fight to gas out the Brazilian and finish him off late in the fight.
"I am going to drag him to the deep waters," he said. "I want to show my cardio, I've been finishing so many guys in practice I will grind him out in the second or third."
Should he do just that, Elliott knows it will put him into the title conversation but knows he doesn't deserve another shot quite yet. Having won "The Ultimate Fighter: Season 24" to get a crack at the flyweight crown against Demetrious Johnson, Elliott lost a decision to the champ but not his motivation.
"I feel like it puts me right behind Joe. No matter what, Joe is the guy, he has a win over Cejudo, he is the guy who deserves the next shot. Joe B. has to be in the conversation," Elliott said.
Regardless, Elliott is just eager to make the walk to the Octagon again and remind fans just how good he is.