It’s rare that a fighter’s stock goes up despite losing via first-round finish, but that’s exactly the scenario Tim Elliott is in following UFC 172. The flyweight contender met Joseph Benavidez in the main event of the UFC 172 prelims in a fight where he was pegged as a 4-to-1 underdog by the betting public. But despite entering the fight as a huge underdog, Elliott sure didn’t look like one in the early goings of the fight, taking Benavidez down three times and putting him into a crucifix on the ground and gaining the rare-in-MMA banana split position (or the “crotch ripper,” as color commentator Joe Rogan called it). For the first few minutes of the fight it really looked like Elliott was in control, but he made a mistake, Beanvidez grabbed his neck, and seconds later Elliott was tapping out — with his feet! — to one extremely-tight guillotine choke. And yet, despite losing the fight in the first round by submission, I was still highly impressed with Elliott’s performance and believe his stock rose in the division going forward. Although he is 2-3 overall in the Octagon now with wins over Louis Gaudinot and Jared Papazian, keep in mind the three losses are to Benavidez, John Dodson, and Ali Bagautinov. In other words, two guys that UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has conquered in the past year-and-a-half, as well as the man who he will be facing at UFC 174 coming uo. Or, in other words, the cream of the crop when it comes to the flyweight division. Basically what I’m saying is, despite losing his last two fights Elliott isn’t going to be cut anytime soon and despite the three losses to Benavidez, Dodson, and Bagautinov — three fights where Elliott was more competitive than most people though he would be — I believe Elliott has firmly entrenched himself as one of the top 10 flyweights in the UFC, and very likely the entire world. That being said, Elliott needs to win his next fight because losing three in a row looks bad no matter how you put it. Although I do believe Elliott can hang with anyone in the top 10, he needs to get a win to get back on track and I think the UFC is going to match him up with someone outside the elite for his next matchup. For his next fight, I’d like to see Elliott take on one of the five following fighters: Neil Seery, the Irish-born boxer who was competitive in a recent loss to top-ranked Brad Pickett; Alp Ozkilic, who is 1-1 overall in the Octagon; Darren Uyenoyama, who is 2-2 in the UFC; Ryan Benoit, who won FOTN in his lone UFC bout; or Josh Sampo, who beat Benoit but who then lost to Zach Makovsky in his sophomore UFC effort. I think Elliott versus any one of Seery/Ozkilic/Uyenoyama/Benoit/Sampo would make for a highly-entertaining fight, and I’m sure UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby shares similar thoughts. Regardless of who he is matched up against next, though, I’m really looking forward to Elliott’s next outing and, at only 27 years of age, I believe that his best nights in the Octagon are yet to come. And, hopefully for Elliott’s sake, that means more bonus money is coming his way.