Darren Till has been training in Thailand ahead of UFC 282. He faces in-form South African Dricus du Plessis at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night (local time).
Till has struggled for form since getting finished by Tyron Woodley in an unsuccessful welterweight title bid at UFC 228 in 2018. Since then he has had several injury injuries and has lost four of his last five fights.
The 29-year-old decided to train for what promises to be a make or break fight in Thailand. He has been based at Tiger Muay Thai and told Michael Bisping that he has been sparring ‘secret Russians’ and ‘killers’ in Phuket.
“The fans love when they see blood and punches and elbows getting thrown, and that’s what I bring.”
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Du Plessis is a former KSW middleweight champion and has won his last five fights. Till believes training in Phuket has left him well prepared for what will be his first fight in over a year,
“I just trained really hard as I always do for this fight. I’ve just come in prepared, feel like in the shape of my life actually,” he told reporters during fight week.
Till still has status as a former welterweight title challenger. But de Plessis has enjoyed more success in recent years and the Englishman feels like he is the one ‘looking up’ in this matchup,
“He’s been beating people, he’s on a rise. Obviously I’m the guy to take the fight (and) he’s looking up, people say I’m looking down (but) I feel like I’m looking up and he could be looking down on me because he’s the one winning,” he said.
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Till has had some well publicized rivalries but he firmly shut down any suggestion that there could be bad blood between the two men,
“It’s just going to be a good fight. I don’t think there’s any smack talk to be said. He’s South African I don’t think they even use profanity. He’s a nice guy all I wanna say,” he said.
Till was given a push by the UFC in the early days of his career. Having racked up five wins inside the octagon by the age of 26 he was handed a welterweight title shot. But the Englishman was totally outclassed by Woodley.
It has been a rollercoaster ride for Till with plenty of ups and downs and it sounds like he still has targets that keep him motivated to succeed,
“I’m in my 20s I’ve been to the absolute peak of the sport and you know get knocked down 20 times (you) get up. I’m not motivated by money or fame. I’m motivated by the goals I set myself.”