Darren Elkins ran into a road block last month in Chicago, but he's not planning on letting that slow him down.
Elkins (17-4, 7-3 UFC) dropped a unanimous decision to Jeremy Stephens at UFC on Fox 10 to open up the main card at the United Center, giving him two setbacks in his past three fights.
But Elkins told The Times he wants to have an active 2014 to climb back into contention in the UFC's featherweight division.
"I'm not even going back to work," the union pipefitter said. "I'm right back to training. I want a bunch of fights this year."
In that regard, the state champion wrestler from Portage High School, now training at Duneland Vale Tudo in Hobart, isn't much different than fellow region fighter Eddie Wineland. Wineland also wants to up the ante on the number of fights he gets this year.
Elkins fought three times in 2013, his highest output since before he was signed by the UFC. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 with the company, he fought just twice a year.
Elkins said he hopes to be back in the cage in April or May against another top-tier opponent like his last three — Stephens, Hatsu Hioki and Chad Mendes.
Magny back on track: Neil Magny, who trained in the region with Miguel Torres, and briefly with the crew at L.A. Boxing in Merrillville before it became a UFC Gym, was badly in need of a win earlier this month in New Jersey.
He got it, dominating Russian newcomer Gasan Umalatov to open up the Super Bowl weekend UFC 169 pay-per-view. Magny (9-3, 2-2 UFC), who now trains in Colorado with the likes of former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt, snapped a two-fight skid and likely saved his job with the win.
"I made him play my game," Magny said. "I felt really strong, really fast. He was a great opponent, but I was in good shape. It was a great start for the fight night."
The Illinois National Guard member now awaits his next booking to try to pull above .500 in the UFC.
In the Olympic spirit: In the spirit of the 2014 Winter Games, next week's UFC 170 pay-per-view in Las Vegas will be in the Olympic mood.
For the first time in UFC history, two Olympic medalists will meet with women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, a silver winner in judo at the 2008 Games, takes on Sara McMann, who won silver in wrestling in 2004.
In the co-main event, Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier takes on former Penn State All-American Patrick Cummins in a bout put together on just 10 days' notice when Rashad Evans fell out of the fight with Cormier with a knee injury.
Cormier just missed medaling in 2004, finishing fourth. He was a captain on the 2008 team, but couldn't compete due to a kidney issue.