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Tim Elliott on UFC: Either they like me or they're trying to get me out of here

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Heading into UFC 172, No. 8 ranked flyweight Tim Elliott reveals that his awkward fighting style began as a joking mimicry of Dominick Cruz

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

BALTIMORE - The way Tim Elliott looks at it, the UFC either really likes him or really wants to get rid of him. And you know what? Either one is fine by him.

At least that's what Elliott had to say when he met with the media ahead of his UFC 172 fight against No. 2 ranked flyweight Joseph Benavidez. "I haven't fought anybody outside the top ten in the UFC," said Elliott. "So, either they like me and they think I can compete with these guys, or they're trying to get me out of here. Either way I'm happy to fight good guys, and I feel proud to fight guys like Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson."

Elliott (10-4-1) is ranked No. 8 in the 125 pound division and is hopeful that his fight on Saturday goes better than his fight with Dodson did at UFC on Fox 3. That fight ended with Dodson' hand being raised in victory after the judges awarded him a unanimous decision.

Wins over Jared Papazian and Louis Gaudinot followed the loss to Dodson. Elliott's most recent fight, a UFC 167 bout against Ali Bagautinov ended with Bagautinov earning the decision victory.

When asked if he could point to one thing that prevented him from making it three wins in a row in the UFC, Elliott didn't hesitate to reply, "I tried to change some things."

Pushed on what he tried to change, Elliott said, "I have some really good striking coaches and we tried to be more classic, and more traditional, and it didn't work out."

The change was not something new or unexpected for Elliott, "I completely changed my style, but I've done that for every fight since my very first fight," said Elliott. "Sometimes you change some things for the better and sometimes for the worse. I fought him where he was the best instead of where I'm the best, and I lost because of it."

Expect Elliott to get back to his awkward style of fighting when he faces Benavidez on Saturday night. A style of fighting that was developed when Elliott had the chance to work with Dominick Cruz while Cruz prepared for his December 2010 WEC bantamweight title defense against Scott Jorgensen.

Elliott said he was 0-2-1 at the time he got the call from Cruz's camp. They enlisted Elliott to help Cruz prepare for Jorgensen's wrestling. Sometime during that camp, Elliott said, "I just started to mimic his style as a joke and it worked really well, and I kept it from there on out."

A remark from Joe Rogan was what made Elliott realize that what started out as a joke, was actually a style that would work for him inside the Octagon. That remark was that Dodson was a faster and more athletic fighter than Elliott, but Elliott made up the difference with awkward movement.

The 27-year-old fighter said he got away from that style in the loss to Bagautinov. However, Elliott said that everyone should expect to see the style that Benavidez described as herky-jerky and off rhythm return when Elliott steps into the Octagon at UFC 172.