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Darren Till says he didn’t target Wonderboy’s knee during ‘one of the best fights ever’

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Darren Till refuted Stephen Thompson’s suggestion that he targeted his knee in the main event of UFC Liverpool on Saturday night.

“Wonderboy” has previously undergone surgery on his lead knee and felt as though the Liverpudlian prospect had purposely zeroed in on the area during their main event clash at the Echo Arena.

“I didn’t know he had surgery,” Till told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, “as I said, I don’t study fights.”

Till described his rival as the “nicest man” he had ever met and believes that the fight was so close that had Thompson won the fight, there would be similar uproar about the decision, which has divided opinion since its announcement.

“I know Stephen, he’s the nicest man I’ve ever met in my life — he’s such a f*ckin’ good guy. He smiles too much, he needs to smile less,” he joked. “My friends have asked me how much of a nice guy he is, and he is. I don’t think he’s bitter or anything because he didn’t get the decision. If he had got [the decision] it would have been the same. Obviously he needs to address the weight thing because he didn’t do anything wrong, that was me.”

Till was adamant that he saw Thompson’s dexterous lead leg as one of the American’s keys to victory, and for that reason, he felt he needed to keep his own front leg at work to counterbalance the karateka’s attacks.

“But the knee thing, no [I didn’t target it]. In the first, I knew I had to keep on my front leg, keep bouncing because his front leg is like a javelin. It’s always in the body and in your face, so I knew I had to keep him thinking about my front leg,” he explained.

He also remembered Thompson’s poker face dropping after taking a shot on the knee:

“So I start throwing a few straight kicks to the knee and to the thigh. And I threw one, and I think he dropped his face and he said something like ‘Ewwwh,’ and I thought, ‘He’s hurt there’. I tapped it a few more times but it was to keep him on edge.”

“I was just trying to keep him worried about my front foot the way I was worried about his,” he added. “It’s like a jab, it’s so wickedly fast. After I did that [hurt his knee], he was on edge, I was on edge…for f*ckin’ five rounds we were on edge.

Although he might have publicly predicted a finish of Thompson, Till said he didn’t expect too many fireworks in the contest given their high caliber striking. Despite some criticism of the bout, “The Gorilla” considers his dance with Thompson to be “one of the best fights ever”.

“People were saying that it wasn’t the barnburner that we expected, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a barnburner. Obviously I came out and said I was going to finish him, but I knew that wasn’t the case. He expected an aggressive Darren Till, but there was no way he was getting that against such a top level striker like him. Honestly, it had my brain puzzled for the four rounds and I probably had his. For me, it was one of the best fights ever. It was so tricky just to get by each other,” Till said.