Elkins (26-9 MMA, 16-8 UFC) has built a career out of his toughness and ability to survive difficult moments to push back and defeat his opponents. He can dig deep and thrive in a blood and guts affair, and although he’s trying to shed some of those traits and be smarter, he thinks it unavoidable against Swanson (27-12 MMA, 12-8 UFC) this Saturday.
“When I was younger I could depend a little bit more on my athleticism and my strength and all that,” Elkins told MMA Junkie at UFC Fight Night 199 media day. “I’m a little bit slower. I still feel like I’m fast, but I’ve got to use my brain a little bit more and focus on my footwork and fight strategy rather than just moving forward all the time. I’ve got use my strategies a little bit better.
“This is a fight that probably could’ve happened a few times. We’ve both been in the top 10 a few times, we’ve both been in the fight game for over a decade. We’ve both had exciting fights. It’s always someone I’ve wanted to fight. I didn’t know I would be fighting him this late in my career. We both bring it, we both put on exciting fights and it’ll probably be one of those ‘Fight of the Night’ type fights.”
UFC Fight Night 199 takes place at the UFC Apex and streams on ESPN+. Elkins would love to get in and out against Swanson with little resistance, but he’s realistic enough to know that’s likely not going to be the case.
“I’m pretty sure when we walk out there and he looks across that cage, I’m probably going to start bleeding,” Elkins said. “It doesn’t take much.”
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