After nearly two years on the sidelines, Darren Till returned to action earlier this year and put on a striking clinic against Jessin Ayari in Sweden.
Bojan Velickovic also competed that weekend, claiming a knockout win over hometown hero Nico Musoke.
Now pitted against each other in Rotterdam this Saturday night, Till recalled sensing fear from the Serbian when he congratulated him after his third-round stoppage victory.
“The only thing I pick up from all of these welterweights is that they’re scared of me,” Till told MMAFighting.com.
“They look at me, they see my size and they see my confidence…I always see fear in them when I see them moving around the hotel. They respect me and they fear me. They look at me like they know I’m a threat in this division.
“Obviously, I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. I see these guys and I shake their hands. When I met Bojan in Sweden, I shook his hand and I congratulated him on his win…but I could see fear from all of them.
“It’s another show for me to steal, I’m just better than him and I’m better than everyone else.”
Outside of the Octagon, the bilingual Brit is known to be quite approachable. He believes his outgoing personality coupled with his striking displays leave his opposition befuddled when they meet him.
“I think it throws a lot of people off because I feel like I’m a good person to be around. When it’s time to fight, I’m a completely different person.
“I’m not going to go into the Octagon and hug my opponent for three rounds. I’m coming in and I want to put my elbow through their skull. That’s just the way I am, that’s my mentality.”
Having begun his MMA career in Brazil, Till is focusing on building his stock in Europe at the moment. Training in Muay Thai since he’s 12 years old, the unbeaten 24-year-old is hoping to steal the show in the Netherlands, which he described as “one of the striking capitals of the world.”
“I like fighting when people are expecting a show. I like the attention. I feel like the eyes are on me this time too,” he said.
“I wanted this fight because I’ve never fought in Holland and I know it’s one of the striking capitals of the world. I think the fans are going to appreciate my skills.
“Whether it’s a first-round knockout or a three-round clinic, I’m going to steal the show.”
Till weighed in six pounds over the welterweight limit in his last outing back in May, but maintains he is completely focused on hitting the scales on target this weekend.
“This time my weight is good. I’m really focused and concentrated on making weight on Friday. At the moment I’m not too worried about the fight – I’m never worried about my fights – but now I’m focused on making weight, and on Friday I’ll make it.”