Darren Till Admits to Thinking of ‘Trying to Fake an Injury’ Before Fight at UFC 244

By Nathan Zur Nov 4, 2019
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Darren Till has opened up about dealing with some serious demons before his fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244, even admitting that he was contemplating faking an injury to avoid getting inside the Octagon.

Till, who arrived for his fight against Gastelum two days before the fight after due to visa issues, wound the clock back to put on a solid all-round performance against his opponent, outpointing him over the three-rounds to win a split decision in the co-main event.

The 26-year-old talked to the media at the UFC 244 post-fight conference at Madison Square Garden and shared how he was struggling mentally after suffering back-to-back losses against former champ Tyron Woodley and then being knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in London (via MMAJunkie.com):

“Before (Tyron) Woodley, there was no guy who could beat me,” Till said. “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 (expletive) whirlwind. It’s good and it’s bad.”

To highlight the doubt in Till’s mind before his debut at 185-pounds against the highly-rated Gastelum, he said he almost faked an injury just to avoid the fight:

“Just to get in there tonight, I tell you,” Till said. “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 (expletive) all these middleweights. I’m coming for everything. It’s back.”

Till said his fear of stepping inside the Octagon will probably always remain and said he’s always been scared of getting into the cage with another man who is looking to take his head off. “The Gorilla” admitted the event at the iconic Madison Square Garden nearly got the best of him.

“Every fight, no matter what any fighter will ever tell you, they will be scared,” Till said. “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.”

The former welterweight title challenger said his mindset changed last Saturday night after getting his first-round out of the way and quickly turned his attention to the game plan.

“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,'” Till said. “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.” Advertisement

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