Four straight wins is the mark many fighters have hit to get a UFC title shot, unless you’re a former champ migrating to another division, or you have highlight-reel finishes to spare.
Darren Elkins (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) could pick up win No. 5 if he beats Antonio Carvalho (15-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 158, and yet most consider him a dark horse in the in the featherweight division.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I try to focus on the things that I can focus on. That’s not my decision.
“If I let it get to me, it’s kind of a lost cause. Why I keep this streak going is I focus on one fight at a time. I don’t get ahead of myself. If I keep taking care of business, I’ll be there.”
UFC 158 takes place March 16 at Bell Centre in Montreal. Carvalho vs. Elkins serves on the FX-televised prelims following additional prelims on Facebook and main-card fights on pay-per-view.
Of course, it isn’t hard to make sense of the UFC’s decisions when looking at title contenders. Those who do big business or have recent high-profile wins get the best opportunities. To get to his current position, Elkins bested Michihiro Omigawa, Zhang Tiequan, Diego Brandao and Steven Siler, none of whom are ranked at 145 pounds.
Meanwhile, featherweight Ricardo Lamas boasts four straight wins and is considered to be on the cusp of a title shot if he wins a rumored fight with Chan Sung Jung.
Elkins, though, doesn’t dispute that he has work to do before he’s thought of in the same way.
“I think he fought tougher guys on paper,” Elkins said of Lamas. “Obviously, he beat Hioki, who was ranked No. 2 at the time, so that gave him a lot of notice. He beat Cub Swanson, and he has a few more finishes than I do.”
Elkins, in fact, has no finishes at featherweight, but he’s working on changing that against Carvalho, who most recently bested Rodrigo Damm via split decision at UFC 154.
“I think he’s a hell of a fighter,” Elkins said of Carvalho. “He’s beat some really top guys. He’s really low-key. I’m low-key, too. I’m not a guy who gets on Twitter to talk. But his fight style, he brings it.
“I definitely feel like I’ve got momentum, but I definitely can’t relax. Once you start getting that type of streak, you let your guard down sometimes, and that’s not what I want to do. An opponent like Carvalho is very dangerous, so I’ve got to stay on my toes and take nobody lightly.”
And if he gets the chance to fight champ Jose Aldo, Elkins said he’ll make the best of it.
“Obviously, if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” he said. “[Aldo has] definitely been up there for a long time. If you beat a champ like that, you’ve really got a name for yourself.”
For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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