On Saturday night, Darren Till was successful in his UFC middleweight debut as he defeated Kelvin Gastelum via a split decision at UFC 244 in New York City.
Till looked impressive on his return to the octagon despite facing one of the middleweight division’s most dangerous fighters in Gastelum as he got back to winning ways and made at statement at 185lbs.
The victory was huge for the Liverpudlian in more ways than one and was his first since back to back defeats to Tyron Woodley in a welterweight title bout and to Jorge Masvidal who KO’d him in devastating fashion in London in March.
The relief was palpable after the fight and speaking to BT Sport following his win, a emotional Till outlined that he felt fear before the fight and even admitted .that he was “thinking of ways to fake an injury” to stop him from competing.
“It was hard, it was really hard,” began Till.
“To tell you the utmost truth I didn’t even want to go out there tonight. I was thinking of ways to fake an injury.
“I’m getting a bit worked up saying it, sorry. It was hard, going out there tonight I was so terrified, I was scared. Not scared of fighting, I like getting hit, I enjoy it. I was just scared, I don’t know.”
"I wasn't even bothered about the win, I'm just happy to overcome it."
"I was thinking of ways to fake an injury. I was scared to go out there."
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) November 3, 2019
Till continued by explaining that it wasn’t necessarily about getting the victory over Gastelum, it was more about overcoming his demons but outlined that now that he is back to winning ways, he wants to return to where he was before his previous two defeats.
“I wasn’t even bothered about the win, I was just glad I overcame what I overcame. I see Jorge (Masvidal) there and 100% of me is happy for him. If there is (a part of me that is unhappy) it’s to be there now.
“In March, the London show was about me, not to disrespect any fighter but it was me, it wasn’t about Masvidal, it was the Darren Till show and he came and stole the show and now he’s got all this. I want to get there again.”