Why Jeremy Stephens is focused less on Elkins, more on self at UFC on FOX 10
CHICAGO – Jeremy Stephens did some game planning for Darren Elkins, but most of what he’s done lately only has to do with himself.
Stephens (22-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC) is off to a perfect 2-0 start as a featherweight, including a November 40-second knockout of Rony Jason in hostile territory in Brazil. He looks to make it 3-0 on Saturday against Darren Elkins (17-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC on FOX 10.
Stephens said that while some of his training early on has to do with recognizing what Elkins brings to the table, deeper into the camp he worries about what he’ll be bringing come fight night.
“I don’t really focus on Darren Elkins too much later in the camp,” Stephens told MMAjunkie. “I just focus on things I can control – getting better as an athlete and getting better as an all-around mixed martial artist. We take those things into perspective, and we try to get better. Things we’re weak at, we try to make that our strong point. So I don’t really focus on Darren Elkins too much. I just focus on what I can do.”
Stephens is a mild favorite over Elkins, who’s gone 6-1 since making the drop from lightweight to featherweight. Five of those six wins have come by decision.
The winner stands to make a solid climb in the featherweight division and could insert himself into the near-term title conversation. Elkins is ranked No. 9 while Stephens is an honorable mention in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings.
“I know what his abilities are and what he’s capable of,” Stephens said. “Everything he’s good at, I think I’m better at, and it’s going to show.”
UFC on FOX 10 takes place at United Center in Chicago. Stephens and Elkins open the main card on FOX following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Check out the video above for more from Stephens on his recent drop from lightweight to featherweight, as well as what it’s like to knock out a Brazilian in Brazil – and make the walk back out of the arena after doing so.
And for the latest on UFC on FOX 10, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.