Tim Elliott's first tour of duty in the UFC didn’t exactly go as planned.
Capturing just two victories alongside four defeats, Elliot was released three years into his UFC career.
But now, thanks to four-straight wins on the twenty-fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, #TimElliott has been fast-tracked to the top of the flyweight division. He’ll challenge #DemetriousJohnson, the UFC’s number-one pound-for-pound fighter, for the title on Saturday, December 3.
Crazy how quickly things can change.
It wasn’t that long ago that Elliott was outgunned on the feet by future title contenders #JohnDodson and Ali Bagautinov, stifled on the mat by former #Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky, and caught in a #JosephBenavidez guillotine so vicious that it forced him to tap out ... WITH HIS FEET.
However, after a pair of first-round submissions over Charlie Alaniz and Matt Schnell, and back-to-back decisions wins over Eric Shelton and Hiromasa Ogikubo, Elliott has the opportunity to enter an elite club of UFC fighters. He can join the ranks of current UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping, and former titlists Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Matt Serra, and Carla Esparza, as the only fighters to win a UFC belt and the reality TV tournament.
Elliott’s chances of actually defeating Johnson this Saturday may be slim, like 13-to-1 underdog slim, but with a strong showing, the current Titan FC flyweight champion could very well cement his career renaissance, reintroducing himself to UFC fans, and maybe even right some wrongs of the past.
It’s happened time and time again in the UFC.
And whether it be Octagon jitters or too much too soon, many fighters, like Elliott, get it right the second time around, a few even reaching the pinnacle of mixed martial arts.
When #RobbieLawler returned to the UFC in 2013, after a nearly a decade away, who predicted he would capture the welterweight championship, and defend it twice.
And, in the span of seven years, #FabricioWerdum went from UFC outcast to heavyweight champion of the world. He’s lost the belt since, but Werdum is still near the top of the division.
Even for guys like #NickDiaz, who rose from a moderately popular mid-card fighter during his first UFC run, to one of the biggest draws in the sport, a second shot at the big time has meant all the difference in the world.
There’s also former champion #AndreiArlovski, who transformed from a relic of a bygone era, crushed after four-straight brutal losses from 2008-2011. The "Pit Bill" returned to the Octagon in 2014, and entered title picture on the heels of three-straight wins. Did anyone really see that one coming?
Of course, no better example can shed light on Elliott’s rare opportunity to dethrone Johnson, the UFC’s longest current reigning champion, than that of #MattSerra, who stunned welterweight G.O.A.T. Georges #GSP St-Pierre. Serra, like Elliott, earned an immediate title shot after winning a season of The Ultimate Fighter themed on career comebacks and championship bouts.
The chaotic nature of MMA is one the sport’s biggest selling points. The notion that anything can happen at any given moment creates such intense suspense, and Elliott is not to be overlooked. We’ve seen truly amazing things occur, and it’s plausible that Tim Elliott could achieve a similar upset against Johnson this weekend.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make here; it's been done before. If the history of second-stint fighters in the UFC has taught us anything, it’s that old dogs are most certainly capable of learning new tricks.
And Tim Elliott is going to need every last damn one of them.
Fighters to Win The Ultimate Fighter and UFC Titles:
- Forrest Griffin
- Matt Serra
- Rashad Evans
- Carla Esparza
- Michael Bisping