Stephens draws Elkins next

Jeremy Stephens and Darren Elkins
Next stop for 'Lil Heathen': No. 10-ranked featherweight Darren Elkins.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


Following a stunning first-round knockout over Ultimate Fighter winner Rony Jason in Brazil, Jeremy Stephens will return to the United States for his next fight where he will face featherweight powerhouse Darren Elkins at the upcoming UFC On FOX 10 show in Chicago.

Sources close to the matchup confirmed that verbal agreements are in place from the fighters for the fight taking place on Jan. 25 from the United Center in Chicago. UFC officials have yet to announce the bout.

Stephens has found new life at featherweight after competing for most of his career as a 155-pound fighter. The Iowa native bludgeoned UFC newcomer Estevan Payan in his featherweight debut before knocking out Jason at last weekend's UFC Fight Night event from Brazil.

He will face a Top 10 fighter for his next bout as Elkins looks to pick up his seventh win in the division since dropping to 145 pounds in 2011. Following a disappointing performance against Chad Mendes earlier in the year, Elkins bounced back with a dominant victory over former top rated contender Hatsu Hioki in September.

Now he will face one of the most dangerous strikers in the division as Stephens looks to keep his streak going when the pair face off at UFC On FOX 10 in January.

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