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Darren Elkins reacts after his victory over Tristan Connelly of Canada in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Darren Elkins: I Never Gave Up On Myself

UFC Featherweight Veteran Darren Elkins Steps Back Into The Fray This Weekend For His 28th Octagon Appearance At UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza

This weekend, Darren Elkins will tie Max Holloway for the most fights in UFC featherweight history when he faces TJ Brown at UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza.

It will be the veteran brawler’s 26th trip to the Octagon at 145-pounds and his 28th overall. He’s fought all over the globe and competed with some of the UFC’s best over the course of 13-plus years.

And “The Damage” isn’t ready to put the gloves down any time soon.

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“I think every fight is a huge fight for me. I think it’ll be a great feeling. I definitely want to get back in the win column and keep my career going,” Elkins told UFC.com. “I’m not planning on retiring any time real soon, and I’d like to have a few more fights, so I need to win Saturday to keep this going.”

Darren Elkins reacts to his victory over Mirsad Bektic of Bosnia in their featherweight bout during the UFC 209 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Darren Elkins reacts to his victory over Mirsad Bektic at UFC 209 on March 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The 39-year-old Indiana native has made a career off gritty wins and gutsy performances. Toughing out situations and flipping the script mid-fight has come to be expected from a Darren Elkins fight. And it doesn’t matter who stands in front of him, as his plan is to grind them out until they can’t keep up with his relentless pressure and gas tank.

“I feel like I know the exact moments. I’ve been breaking people for so long in wrestling and in fighting that I can start feeling them fade,” Elkins said. “Feeling them fade and seeing them slow down, that’s when I start picking it up even more. I’m not the most explosive guy, but I’ll keep the same pace the whole time.”

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And yes, Elkins is anticipating that’ll he’ll get a cut or two along the way.

“I’ve always had cuts; I’m always getting stitches. If I’m in a fight, I’m almost guaranteed to get stitches. If a guy looks at me, I’m going to bleed. That’s a guarantee,” Elkins laughed. “As far as broken bones, I’ve almost never had broken bones. Getting older, I guess with the wear and tear and stuff like that, I’ve been getting a little bit more serious injuries but nothing that crucial in my career.”

Darren Elkins reacts after his TKO victory over Darrick Minner in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 24 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Darren Elkins reacts after his TKO victory over Darrick Minner in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 24 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Keeping his body healthy has been a priority in this camp, especially considering that Elkins partially tore his meniscus, tore his MCL, and fractured his fibula in his fight against Jonathan Pearce last December.

Yes, Elkins said that he hadn’t suffered anything “that crucial,” but it’s important to remember that Elkins operates on a different toughness scale than most humans on the planet.

So, he approached rehabbing those injuries determined to be back better than ever, and he’s feeling like the ten-month layoff and the heightened focus on his body have helped him come into this fight with Brown at 110 percent.

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Elkins has competed with athletes that run the entire gamut of fighting styles, but he’s expecting Brown to bring a very similar style to what he brings to a fight.

“I think he’s scrappy. You watch his fights and [you can tell] he’s going to be in my face. I think that’s why they wanted this matchup,” Elkins said. “These are the type of fights that are fun to watch, and these are the type of scrappy fights that made my career. He’s going to throw down and I’m going to throw down. It’s going to be an exciting fight.”

Darren Elkins Finishes Minner With Ground And Pound Strikes | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Dillashaw
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Darren Elkins Finishes Minner With Ground And Pound Strikes | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Dillashaw
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Putting on exciting performances is what fight fans are used to from Elkins, and during his fights he often thinks of the fans and the fact that he wants to set an example of true perseverance for them.

He hopes that he can inspire them with how hard he works, how tough he fights, and the amount of heart he puts into every second of Octagon time.

Darren Elkins Athlete Profile

“Do what you love and don’t ever give up on yourself. I never gave up on myself,” Elkins said. “I knew I could always come back in some of these fights that most people count me out of. I put myself in difficult situations just like people do in life. I just don’t give up; I keep on going and I think that’s why people relate. We’ve all been in those tough situations, we all want to quit, but we got to keep going and keep pushing through.”

With a quote like that, there’s no doubt that “The Damage” is primed to deliver a vintage performance this weekend.

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UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs Barboza took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 14, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!