Las Vegas, NV — UFC flyweight Tim Elliott has survived being cut from the UFC, and the near-closure of the division he calls home.
At UFC 259 on Saturday, the former title challenger returns, taking on Jordan Espinosa. Elliott (16-11-1) will look to build off a win over Ryan Benoit back in July, and he’s in a prime spot to do so: on one of the biggest cards of the year, in a flyweight division that is red hot arguably for the first time since its inception in the UFC.
Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press during this week’s media day, Elliott discussed being part of another massive event. “I fought on cards where Conor McGregor was fighting. I fought on cards where Georges St. Pierre was fighting, I fought on these big shows before,” said Elliott. “I’m usually the first or second fight. But even in those fights, when I was Facebook, prelim fight, I got Fight of the Night, two times. I was the first Fight of the Night on Fight Pass, I got Fight of the Night. So I love it. I love the pressure. And the more people have their eyes on the fights, the better for me. I do better on high pressure situations.”
It’s the perfect time for any flyweight to stand out and put on a big show. Between late 2018 and 2019, the promotion cut a number of 125lb fighters. The UFC mulled shuttering the weight class, before having a change of heart.
Some pointed to Henry Cejudo winning the belt, then claiming a second title at 135lbs, as the savior of the division. Dana White has suggested it was actually matchmaker Mick Maynard that salvaged the weight class. Either way, Elliott feels that the division is now stacked.
“100% the flyweight division is really breaking out,” Elliott noted. “There was a time where it was kind of dying. And then, you know, TJ Dillashaw came down [against Cejudo] and we thought that maybe it was going to be shut down. But it’s huge. Brandon Moreno’s fight [against Deiveson Figueiredo] was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. They’re starting to get some acknowledgement, not just for being little guys. In America, it always seems like bigger is better. They want to see heavyweights go at it. Real fight fans, I think they want to see excitement in action. And you get that with a flyweights.”
On Saturday, Elliott will be up against Jordan Espinosa. That’s “a good match-up for me,” he suggested. “One that we’ve been looking for. He was training with my coach that I’m with now for a while. And he left and went back to where he’s at. So I know the game plan to beat him. I know guys that have trained with him. I couldn’t pick a better fight.”
Watch the full UFC 259 media day scrums with Tim Elliott above. The event takes place this Saturday, March 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.