“Both,” he laughs. “It’s an individual sport so there’s nobody I can point my fingers to but myself. I can look back and blame an injury or something, but at the end of the day, it’s my own fault. It’s my performances I get to judge, and it’s hard for me. I’m my own worst critic, so it’s hard for me to even watch my fights afterwards. I have to give myself a couple of days, calm myself down and I’m cringing every time. Even my best fights, I’m still cringing.”

That perfectionist has still managed to win more than he’s lost at the elite level and until recently he was a staple in the top 15 at 145 pounds. To do that for as long as he has is an accomplishment, one that required a lot of blood, sweat and tears that don’t always show up on a win-loss record.

“It’s easy to see people come out there and have these great performances, but they don’t see the sacrifice they have to put into it,” said Elkins. “A lot of us don’t celebrate regular holidays because we’re training. We can’t eat like everybody else on Thanksgiving or Christmas. We have a different lifestyle and most people don’t understand how many sacrifices we have to make to get where we’re at.”

Fighters like Elkins are still willing to make them, though. And this weekend, he returns to work. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but he made it.

“I signed to fight right before everything got locked down,” he said. “I signed it, the next day it was ‘shelter in place.’ But I just kept training, running, working out, and I tried to stay focused. It’s been a rollercoaster ride to get back into the cage, but I’m really looking forward to it.”