Tim Elliott may have been a few seconds and/or inches from becoming UFC Flyweight Champion Saturday night, but his future may end up being at bantamweight.
Elliott was candid at the post-fight press conference regarding the cut to 125 pounds for the championship fight with longtime champ Demetrious Johnson. “The weight cut killed me,” he told reporters after the show. “The morning of the weigh-ins I was hurting pretty bad. The first time I’ve ever told my coaches I was done. I told James Krause I wasn’t going back in the sauna, told him I would give up the 20 percent, I didn’t care about the belt. He made me get back in there, he made me cut the weight, and I appreciate that he did that… I was hurting after the first round.”
Elliott’s account was consistent with the narrative of the fight, which saw Elliott nearly choke Johnson out in the first round with a guillotine choke, a hold that is known for depleting one’s muscle strength when held too tight or too long without securing the finish. Johnson went on the dominate much of the rest of the fight, taking a unanimous decision.
Considering the difficult cut and also the experience of cutting to 125 pounds four times in matter of weeks during The Ultimate Fighter tapings, Elliott sees his future at bantamweight and, despite competing against larger opponents, Elliott feels he will still fare well. “…I feel like I could really compete at 135,” he said. “I’ll do better there when I feel good and I feel strong.”
Wherever Elliott chooses to fight, if he’s as entertaining as he was Saturday night, it’ll be a perfect fit.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I was surprised to hear Elliott say he wanted to move up since he has been fighting at 125 both in and out of UFC and has seen good success. You would think that nearly winning the championship would motivate him to stay, but I can also see how a miserable weight cut would make one not want to do that ever again. He may find himself undersized at 135, but he won’t be alone in moving from 125 to 135 as he’d be following the footsteps of John Lineker and John Dodson, who have both done well at 135, so Elliott may see similar success.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Dana White told Yahoo Sports that he has “no idea” what Conor McGregor is doing in acquiring his boxing license, adding that “Conor’s Conor. He does his thing. But he’s under contract to me. Who knows with this guy? I just let Conor be Conor. And the other thing is, it’s fun to talk about this (Floyd Mayweather) fight and what might happen, but what commission would let that fight happen? Really, think about that.”
-Saturday’s Ultimate Fighter Finale drew 2,044 fans for a gate of $188,602 for the show at the intimate Pearl at the Palms Casino venue.
-Bellator sent out the following update regarding changes to the Dec. 16 event in Dublin, Ireland: “Injuries to both Paul Redmond and Bruna Ellen have led to new opponents for Daniel Weichel (37-9) and Helen Harper (4-1) on December 16. Weichel will now face Ireland native Brian Moore (9-4) in a featherweight bout, while Harper will be challenged by Bruna Vargas (2-1) in a flyweight fight at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. Finally, a bantamweight bout pitting Shay Walsh (14-4) against Luiz Tosta (9-2) puts a stamp on the main card of Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii. The Spike-televised main card will be highlighted by a heavyweight main event pitting “King Mo” (19-5, 1 NC) against Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1). In addition, Anthony Taylor (1-1) will look to quiet the crowd as he enters enemy territory to challenge Northern Ireland’s James Gallagher (4-0) in a featherweight clash.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/4: Demetrious beats Elliott but now what, plus Benavidez vs. Cejudo razor close (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)