Tim Elliott Overcame Slow Start En Route To UFC

UFC News

When Elliott makes his pick for the February 29 bout, he does so not just as a fellow flyweight who knows both from his fights with them, but as a friend and training partner of Mr. Benavidez. It’s a friendship that found its roots before the two fought in 2014 as they actually cut weight together.

“He’s super funny, a super genuine guy and we always got along,” said Elliott. “Then we fought each other and immediately after we always saw each other and were cool, and then on The Ultimate Fighter we became friends and we’ve been friends since.”

Today, Elliott and Benavidez both live and train in Las Vegas, and Elliott has never forgotten what his former foe did for him during the reality show and beyond.

“He (Benavidez) is my friend and he helped me get to where I am,” he said. “He coached me on The Ultimate Fighter, he picked me first, put me in a good spot in the brackets and helped me win The Ultimate Fighter and got me a world title fight. So I owe a lot to him. We train a lot together and he’s been a true flyweight, a guy that’s been around forever and I’m glad that he’s getting the opportunity to finally get the belt.”

If this all sounds like a conflict for two fighters chasing the same goal, Elliott knows how it sounds to those outside the sport, but for him, it makes perfect sense. This isn’t a blood feud with a mortal enemy; it’s a competition between two buddies and may the best man win.

“I can see how it is (weird) for some people, but for me it’s business,” he said. “I like to fight, and if me and him get to fight each other, it just says we’re both doing the right things because we’ll be fighting for a world title and our coaches are doing the right things and we have the right training partners. So, for me, it just means we’re both doing exactly what we should be doing and it would be perfect. I don’t take it personally and I don’t take the fight outside of the cage with me. Everything is about trying to put on a good show, trying to have fun and trying to make some money.”

Yet nothing happens in terms of title shots or a possible rematch with Benavidez (or Figueiredo) without Elliott first getting by Askarov. And though he has the edge on his foe on paper, he has to turn up and perform on fight night.

“I think that I fought better guys than this and I fought higher level guys than this,” he said. “But I’m one of those fighters, I have a certain style that it makes me dangerous in the sense that I know I can beat the very best guys in the division but, at the same time, I can lose to the guys that aren’t the best guys. It’s one of those things – you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

That’s what makes Tim Elliott Tim Elliott, though. And he’s as determined as ever that what started out with question marks will end with a definitive and positive answer.

“This is the best time ever to be a flyweight,” he said. “Finally, there are things happening. Real flyweights are gonna fight for the belt, there’s a lot of good guys in the division right now, all the flyweight fights have been really exciting lately and there’s some undefeated guys, so it’s lit a new motivation to try to get that belt. And a win here with Askar and one or two more wins, it could be me and Joe B. fighting and, for me, that’s a storybook ending. So if I got to fight him for a world title, for our team and for him and me, win or lose, it couldn’t happen any better way for me. That’s exactly what I want to happen and that’s what we’re working for right now. But it starts with Askar Askarov.” 

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