It’s been nearly two years since flyweight Tim Elliott last fought. Following a win over Mark De La Rosa at UFC 219 in December of 2017, Elliott has been recovering from injury.
For Elliott it was not only recovering from multiple procedures to fix what was wrong, but also a conscious effort to take an extended time to make sure he was ready for a return that lead to such a long layoff.
“I had a layoff; the first time I’ve ever had a layoff since I started fighting for the UFC; I tore every ligament in my right knee and had multiple surgeries,” Elliott told MMAWeekly.com. “I took almost a year to recover and then have been training steadily for about a year.
“As of late I feel as good as I’ve ever felt. My weight is good. I feel strong. And I’m so anxious to get back in the cage.”
Elliott admits he had doubts he would return at times, but he was able to stay positive and keep working towards his comeback. And when he does come back, he’s not sure what the 2019 version of him is like until after he has a fight.
“I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t get a chance to fight again,” said Elliott. “I had a good support system. I was worried about it a little bit, but now that I’m back training, I feel as good as I’ve ever felt.
“The recovery road was a long one for me. There were times where I thought it had broken me, but after this I think I’ll come out stronger. I feel good about this (upcoming) fight. This is the fight and the match-up I wanted. After time we’ll figure it out, but after this fight I’ll know exactly where I stand at in the division.”
At UFC on ESPN+ 19 in Tampa, Fla., Elliott (15-8-1) will have his first fight back when he faces Deiveson Figueiredo (16-1) in a preliminary flyweight bout.
“Stylistically this is the perfect match-up for me,” Elliott. “When I got released by the UFC the first time, my first three fights for Titan FC were hard, heavy-hitting Brazilians, so I feel like I’ve fought this (type of) guy three times.
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“If I just keep the game plan I kept with those guys, which is hit and not get hit and kind of frustrate (Figueiredo), I feel like I’ll have the same result I had in those three fights.”
Having previously gone one bout at a time, Elliott admits he has plans for both inside and outside the Octagon in the coming year.
“It used to be I just kind of fought as it came and just kind of would fight whoever whenever, but I’m getting older now and I’m trying to start a family and buy a house in Las Vegas, so I’m looking for big fights after this,” said Elliott.
“I feel like a win here puts me in the top two or three. I don’t know if Cejudo is going to defend or not, but I feel like if I beat Deiveson Figueiredo here I feel I’ll be right in the mix for that title contention and I’m definitely going to throw my hat in that ring.”