Darren Till: I wanted to fake an injury backstage
In mid-2018 Darren Till was undefeated and coming off wins over Cowboy Cerrone and Stephen Thompson. He appeared to be the next Welterweight thing. However, he then suffered back to back losses to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal, and was involved in a minor legal scuffle while on vacation in the Canary Islands. In sum, it's been a tough year, and, as he explained at the post-fight press conference, he felt the pressure before the fight Saturday night vs. Kelvin Gastelum.
“Before Woodley, there was no guy who could beat me,” said Till, as transcribed by Nolan King for MMA Junkie. “And then two losses like that? It just took a lot away from me inside of me. I didn’t say it, but I fought some hard demons. Then obviously getting arrested and there’s other things. You lose sponsors and it’s a f***ing whirlwind. It’s good and it’s bad.”
“Just to get in there tonight, I tell you. I was trying to fake an injury before walking out. I was thinking of an injury to fake because I just simply did not want to get in there. This is probably a thing fighters don’t talk about. But you know me and I’m honest. That’s just where I was at. Now, I’m here. Confidence is back. Like f*** all these middleweights. I’m coming for everything. It’s back.”
“Every fight, no matter what any fighter will ever tell you, they will be scared. If they tell you they’re not, it’s a blatant lie. This fighter wasn’t scared; I was terrified. I wasn’t shaking, but I just didn’t want to go. The magnitude of the event – I was doubting. I was thinking of ways to get out of the fight. This was only today and I’m just so scared.”
“Then the first round is over and I’m like, ‘Come on, pull yourself together. Now we’re going to win this fight the way we planned. We’re not gonna let him touch you and you’re going to win it.' I knew it was going to be hard to knock him out. I knew I had the power, but he’s a tough cookie. That’s just how it is.
“Fighters might not say it, but I’ll always say it. Whether it’s good or bad, I’ve been criticized in the past or whatever. That’s where I was at today as soon as I woke up.”
Darren Till defeated Kelvin Gastelum by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) at UFC 244. And he's back.