darren-elkins-8.jpgBlame his cell phone’s roaming charges as the reason Darren Elkins didn’t immediately pounce on a late-notice opportunity to fight fellow featherweight contender Chad Mendes at next month’s UFC on FOX 7 event.

Earlier this month, the fast-rising 145-pounder scored a first-round TKO win over Antonio Carvalho at UFC 158 in Montreal. Mere hours later, UFC officials called Elkins (16-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) to see if he’d replace injured Clay Guida and fight Mendes (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) on April 20.

Elkins, though, was totally oblivious to the opportunity.

“Up there (in Canada) I had my phone turned off,” Elkins today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “You’ve got those ridiculous roaming charges and stuff.”

Manager Audie Attar, though, soon caught up with the Indiana wrestler and broke the news of the potential bout. Elkins and his coaches decided to sleep on it, but though the adrenaline was still pumping from his UFC 158 fight, his mind was made up before his head even hit the pillow.

“[My coaches] thought it’d be good for me to step in, and I had been wanting a top 10 guy anyway,” he said. “I’m healthy, and I’m in shape anyway, so I was excited about it.”

Of course, going from Carvalho, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu and shotokan black belt, to Mendes, a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler with proven knockout power, is going to take a completely different training camp.

More than anything, Elkins knows he needs to prepare for the Californian’s athleticism. And he has limited time to do it.

“He’s a guy who’s totally different than the last guy I fought, so it’s going to have to be a different style of training,” he said. “But I have time, so I’m not too worried about it.

“A guy like Mendes, he’s an explosive guy. You’ve got to be ready for his explosiveness. So you’ve got to bring [into camp] those quick guys, guys who can shoot any time, guys who have quick hands, and come in and out. For me, it’s got to be a footwork type of thing and getting ready for his speed. That’s going to be a tricky part of it.”

But it’s obviously a gamble worth taking. Elkins is currently ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com featherweight rankings, and Mendes is No. 3. Additionally, No. 2 Ricardo Lamas meets No. 6 “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, at UFC 162 in July, and No. 5 Cub Swanson awaits an opponent.

The division is hitting the homestretch, and Elkins is keenly aware what a big win could do for his title hopes.

“I figure you have ‘Zombie,’ and you’ve got Lamas obviously,” he said. “And then Mendes in most rankings is No. 2. He’s only lost to (current champ) Jose Aldo. So it’d put me right there. That’s one of the reasons I took it. If I win this fight, rightfully so, I should be right there in the title contention.”

Of course, part of his job is getting fans to care and making them want to see him in big fights. During his recent 5-0 run in the UFC, Elkins has put together an impressive resume, though not everyone took notice. So now, the usually low-key fighter is getting out of his comfort zone and taking his pitch to fans.

“That’s one thing I’ve really been working on,” he said. “Before, I really shied away from some interviews. But I’m getting on Twitter and stuff like that. I’m really trying to get my name out there so people get to me.”

For more on UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Josh Barnett vs. Ben Rothwell Set to Go Down at UFC on FOX 18

  • 5 days ago

A heavyweight match-up between Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell has been booked for UFC on FOX 18, according to a report on Tuesday evening. read news >>

At 42 years old, WSOF 25's Jorge Patino doesn't see any reason to slow down

  • 10 days ago

If you think entering into a single-night, eight-man elimination tournament is hardcore, imagine doing it at 42 years old.Filed under: News, WSOF read news >>

Paige VanZant Video: ‘I’m 3-0 in the UFC for a Reason’

  • 14 days ago

Strawweight rising star Paige VanZant talks about her upcoming bout against Rose Namajunas, Claudia Gadelha's dismissive comments, and more. read news >>

UFC 193 headliner Ronda Rousey says she didn't hang up on media: 'My phone died'

  • 17 days ago

MELBOURNE, Australia – Some media topics, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has a good laugh over.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Alex Caceres vs. Masio Fullen joins January's UFC on FOX 18 lineup

  • 17 days ago

A bout between Alex Caceres and Masio Fullen is the latest addition to January’s UFC on FOX 18 lineup.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Donald Cerrone Gets First Whereabouts Failure Prior to UFC on Fox 17 Title Bid

  • 19 days ago

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has one strike against him per USADA code. The UFC lightweight title contender picked up his first of three allotted whereabouts failures recently. Cerrone told Tait Fletcher read news >>

Jimmie Rivera hoping for spot on UFC on FOX 18 card in New Jersey after Brazil win

  • 20 days ago

SAO PAULO – After his upset of Pedro Munhoz on Saturday in enemy territory, Jimmie Rivera still isn’t ready to start calling out opponents. Sort of. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Twitter Mailbag: On aging UFC headliners and brotherly Bellator scraps

  • 24 days ago

In this week’s Twitter Mailbag, what’s the best reason for staying up late to watch Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson fight a third time? And, hold up, did two Bellator fighters really attack a third B read news >>

Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader Fight Announced for UFC on Fox Newark Card

  • 25 days ago

Anthony Johnson will fight fellow light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader in the headline clash in the first UFC on Fox event of 2016 on Jan. 30. The five-round fight will take place at the Prudential read news >>

Light Heavyweights Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader Headline UFC on Fox 18 on Jan. 30

  • 25 days ago

Top-ranked light heavyweight Anthony Johnson (20-5) faces third ranked Ryan Bader (20-4) in the the UFC on Fox 18 main event in New Jersey on Jan. 30. read news >>