No one said Tim Elliott wasn't confident.
The UFC flyweight will be making his third appearance inside the Octagon this weekend (Aug. 31, 2013) when he battles Louis Gaudinot in a pivotal flyweight match-up at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
With the 125-pound division starving for contenders, the Kansas-native knows he could be one solid performance away from a shot at the belt, or at least getting strong consideration.
Elliott's taking full advantage of the situation, calling out the champion and boldly proclaiming that he's a fighter no man can prepare for. It's no secret that the Grindhouse MMA fighter has an incredibly awkward style inside the Octagon, but will it translate against elite competition? That's yet to be seen.
The recent "Fight of the Night"-winner made a recent appearance on Bloody Elbow Radio where he spoke to yours truly and Matt Bishop about his strange recovery from a broken collar bone, the origins of his awkward fighting style and why he feels he could give champion Demetrious Johnson a completely different look in this interview.
Check it out:
Matt Bishop: It's been nine months since we've seen you at the TUF season 16 finale. What have you been up to in the last nine months when you haven't been fighting?
Tim Elliott: Well I went down to train at Team Alpha Male with Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes and we went on a weekend snowboarding thing and I went with my brother and I broke my collar bone. I've been out with a little bit of an injury, but I'm back 100 percent now.
Matt Bishop: The collar bone is a pretty scary place to get injured. What steps did you take to make sure you were 100 percent and ready to get back in there?
Tim Elliott: The problem I was having when I first got injured was I kept going back into the gym without giving it any time to heal or taking any time off. I kept re-injuring myself. I finally listened to my coaches, took some time off and let it rest. I have a hard time not being in the gym and my coaches made me stay out of there and as usual, they're right.
I definitely wasn't doing it right initially. I would just saran wrap my arm to my side and go out there and practice one-handed. I was wrestling, grappling, I was still striking. It was still bothering me and I finally took a whole week off and didn't do anything except for cardio and it really paid off taking a little bit of a break and it feels good. I haven't had any problems with it at all.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You have a very unique style, a lot more awkward in the cage than just about any other fighter. You gave a guy like Jon Dodson a really good look in your UFC debut. Where does that come from?
Tim Elliott: I never fought like that in any of my previous fights. I had a gameplan to go out there and take Dodson down. But then Dana White came in there in the little room and he gave his speech and he's cussing and saying be exciting and get that "Fight of the Night" bonus and the bonus was 70 grand, so I threw my gameplan out the window and fought like I've always wanted to fight. It paid off for me. I didn't get Fight of the Night, I thought I should have, but I've fought that way ever since.
Before the Dodson fight, I'd never fought like that. I was always looking for the takedown and trying to ground and pound people.
Tim Elliott: It did and it didn't. I won "Fight of the Night" but I felt like I was robbed of a good performance in that fight. He really got in my head, made me really uncomfortable and I've been in contact with him since then and he's a really nice guy but before the fight, man he really god in my head and it worked to his advantage. Not only did I not want to fight him, I didn't even want to be around the guy. I felt I got robbed of a good performance even though I won "Fight of the Night" because I didn't get an opportunity to showcase the things I'd been working on, especially after that illegal knee. At least the knee allowed me to win the bonus because I was able to come back from it and win.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You made the transition to MMA after you were done wrestling. Was there anything about cagefighting that specifically drew you to the sport?
TIm Elliott: I have two college degrees so I could have got a regular job but I was lucky enough in college that I had Cole Province as my coach and he was a four time college champ and a WEC veteran and also Jared Hess, a Bellator finalist. Them guys were already making good money fighting. I really wasn't a good wrestler but I was tough and I went hard and they told me, "This is the sport for you."
Now I get to wrestle the way I always wanted to where I can punch and kick and knee people in the face.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Where did the originals of your favorite striking technique, the tomahawk chop, come from?
Tim Elliott: That's all James Krause, current UFC veteran. From trying to strike with him as a regular kickboxer or boxer, no one in the world can hang with him doing orthodox moves. You saw what he did to Sam Stout and Sam Stout is a way better striker than me. You can't beat James Kruase being a traditional striker. I make things up in the gym and those are the things that work on him and they work on everybody at the gym so now everybody's doing that. We're all doing funky stuff, cartwheels, jumping spinning kicks and half the time it doesn't work but then we find that one thing that works and the whole gym does it. We've got amateur guys doing stuff most people have never seen before.
Our gym is starting to make a name for itself, James got "Fight of the Night" and "Submission of the Night," I got "Fight of the Night," and Zak Cummings got "Submission of the Night." We're embracing that creative striking and fighting style.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Your career, as good as you've been doing right now, it didn't start off so great going 0-2-1 in your first three fights. Was there a moment where it first started clicking for you where you were able to turn it around?
Tim Elliott: It got really bad for a while. I was 0-2-1, my girlfriend is a professional fighter and there was a time she was 4-0 as an amateur and I was 0-2-1 so I didn't even want to fight anymore. I stuck with it and my coaches told me they really believed this was something I'd be able to do and I just listened. People I look up to, nobody every said I should quit or think about finding something else to do. They just said I just had to keep putting everything I've got into it and it would eventually pay off and they were right.
Tim Elliott: At that moment, Jens Pulver was my favorite fighter of all time and I got a chance to fight him. I was so excited, so ready, I was in the cage getting ready to fight him and he started walking out and everyone was going crazy in the crowd. I just started getting really nervous and feeling sick and I've never had that happen to me before. I felt like in that fight, I didn't really put on a good performance. I caught him with a lucky knee and I feel I owe my whole career to Jens. Without fighting him, I'd still be fighting for a couple hundred dollars here or there. I owe everything I have to that guy. He made my career and he made a lot of guys' careers.
It was kind of bittersweet knocking him out. He was my favorite fighter and while I really wanted to beat him, I also wanted to go out and drink some beers together afterwards with him and get to know him a little better and I wasn't able to do that because he had to take a little trip to the hospital. I really owe a lot to that guy.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What do you make of the stakes of this upcoming fight against Louis Gaudinot? The flyweight division is pretty thin at the moment and they're always looking for new contenders.
Tim Elliott: This fight is really important definitely and I wouldn't say that if I win this fight I should get a title fight but after seeing John Moraga's poor performance, I guarantee you that Demetrious Johnson would not do that to me. I don't know if they think that I'm the guy, but I'm definitely ready. Demetrious would have his hands full, I guarantee that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What do you think it is about you that would make you such a tough fight for Johnson?
Tim Elliott: I can bring in 100 guys that mimic Demetrious Johnson's style and Lou Gaudinot's style, but they can't bring in one guy that can mimic Tim Elliott. I'm not saying I'm a better fighter than them. I'm sure his technical kickboxing is better than mine, his kicks are better, his punches are better, but it's not a kicking or punching contest. It's a fight and I have willpower and a lot of heart and a hard-ass head. When it comes down to it, technique doesn't really matter. It comes down to who wants it more and I guarantee that no one out there is tougher than me.
Matt Bishop: What do you visualize for your fight with Louis Gaudinot at UFC 164?
Tim Elliott: I see myself submitting him with anywhere from seven to nine seconds left in the fight so I can take James Krause's record away from him for latest submission in UFC history.
You can follow Tim on Twitter @TElliott125.