Tim Elliott speaks with MyMMANews in above video
Everything is aligning for Tim Elliott, even if he is on a three-fight losing streak.
The UFC flyweight is set to make a quick turnaround against Ryan Benoit at UFC’s July 15 event on “Fight Island,” Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. It’s his first fight since renegotiating his contract with the UFC, receiving four more fights.
He is coming off a “Performance of the Night” bonus in a second-round submission loss to Brandon Royval at UFC on ESPN 9, May 30. Elliott expected to take some time off afterwards, so he visited his daughter in Kansas City, Missouri.
His plans changed slightly after Elliot accepted the July 15 bout. He is back where his MMA career started, with James Krause in Missouri. With a temporary change of scenery at Glory MMA and Fitness, Tim Elliott is rediscovering his passion for the sport again, since the passing of his coach Robert Follis in December 2017.
The 33-year-old’s last win came in 2017, but things could be worse.
“Everything right now is really positive as far as being a guy on a three-fight losing streak, I don’t know how it could be much better,” Elliott said. “I thought I was getting fired. I was a little bit worried, but then I got the bonus, got the raise, got a new contract, I get to travel the world with the people that I love and it couldn’t be better.”
Going to Kansas City
Elliott’s trip to Missouri was for family and friends, not fighting. Now it’s both.
Elliott tried to fight Tyson Nam at UFC on ESPN 10 on June 13, but a 30-day medical suspension kept him from competing. Elliot decided to go see his daughter, take off from fighting and train with Krause.
That was the plan before he got a call.
“They [UFC] offered me the Benoit fight. I called James and of course, James always thinks I can beat everybody. That’s the reason I call him,” Elliott said. “I put the name on paper and gave it to Krause and was like, ‘Hey man, you’re going to be running this camp,’ which he’s been wanting to do , he’s been wanting to get back working with me.”
Tim Elliott is more than familiar with Krause. Krause cornered Elliott on 11 of his 13 UFC bouts. This includes his octagon debut in 2012 and his title loss against then-champion Demetrious Johnson in 2016.
Krause is a longtime UFC veteran in his own right, currently 4-1 in his last five bouts. It’s safe to say Elliott is confident with Krause in his corner.
“I’ve said this even before one of us was in the UFC, he’s a better coach than he is a fighter and he’s an amazing fighter,” Elliott said. “James is the man. He brings the best out of people and I’m looking to get a little bit of that July 15.”
Losing a coach and friend
Elliott moved from Missouri to Las Vegas, Nevada to train with Robert Follis at Xtreme Couture in 2017. Tragedy struck when Follis committed suicide in December of the same year.
Eliott remained in Las Vegas, but went 1-3 in his next four fights. He started to lose his love for training and fighting.
Elliott plans to return to train in Las Vegas, but is setting up shop in Kansas City this camp.
“Coming down here to Kansas City, I’m getting a little bit of that back. James is just one of those guys. If you’ve never spent any time with him, even outside of MMA, he’s just one of those guys that you want to do better being around him,” Elliott said. “I’ve been really scared to put myself out there because I moved my whole life for that guy [Follis] and he killed himself.”
Viva Las Vegas
The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 24 also blames comfort as a reason for complacency in his career. With his last two fights taking place in Las Vegas, Elliott slept in his home the night before both events.
Whether he expected it or not, change is something he is deeming necessary.
“It was really nice and comforting, but this isn’t a comfort sport. This isn’t a nice sport. This a gritty, nasty, mean and ugly sport,” Elliot said. “Sometimes you gotta do the s*** you don’t want to do… I feel likeI missed that on my last two fights and I’m not going to miss that on this one.”
Elliott is still getting a bit of Las Vegas during his fight week on Yas Island. Not only is his girlfriend and training partner, UFC bantamweight Gina Mazany joining him, but so are his coaches.
Elliott’s Las Vegas coaches Eddie Barraco and Casey Halstead are cornering his teammate Joseph Benavidez in his flyweight title rematch with Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC’s July 18 event on ‘Fight Island.”
Barraco and Halstead were available to coach Elliott, but he didn’t want to be in the way of Benavidez. Although Elliott is not going to be cornered by them, he plans to be around some of the people closest to him.
“I am going to be in this place where it’s a place that is a little bit different, but I am going to be with all these people that I love and who really love me,” Elliott said. That’s the fight game. It’s such a small community. I feel like I have a good base of people.”
No one is more surprised than Elliott after signing a four-fight deal with the UFC following three consecutive losses. He expected to be fired.
Regardless, Elliott brings excitement to the octagon with five “Fight of the Night” bonuses to his name. As long as he is still in the UFC, he plans to do what got him here.
Tim Elliott is even considering fighting twice on “Fight Island” if someone drops out and if he is medically cleared to compete.
In the last three years, Elliot lost a friend and coach in Follis, suffered three-consecutive losses and questioned his future in the sport. Now, Elliott is training this camp at where it all began.
With a new contract, Elliott is not rebuilding, but reloading.
“I don’t want to say it’s destiny or faith or anything like that. It was one of those things where I was looking to be done, then got the call, they gave me a raise, they renegotiated my contract after three losses in a row,” Elliott said. “Everything is just kind of really fitting good.”