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Darren Till on Kelvin Gastelum: ‘Dana White tried to convince me not to take the fight’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Darren Till doesn’t believe in taking an easy path with his fight career, and that’s why he sought out Kelvin Gastelum despite protests from UFC president Dana White.

Till, who in 2018 challenged unsuccessfully for the welterweight title, insists he doesn’t understand the concept of trying not to fight the best opponents available. The recent middleweight title challenger Gastelum was the best option.

“A lot of people keep saying about me having big bollocks taking this fight, but I don’t see it like that,” Till told reporters this past Friday at a press conference in Nottingham. “Where we come from and how we train and how I am as a fighter, the mentality is that I’m here to fight the best.

“Win or lose, I’m here to fight all of these top fighters. I don’t really understand that concept of an easy path, or the easy fights. If that’s the path you want, then you should look at another career. I’m coming off two losses, and I’ve probably taken one of the most riskiest fights – not even in the middleweight division, but the whole UFC. I can’t say enough about Kelvin. I’ve got nothing but respect for him, but I’m going in there to prove my worth against him.”

Although he carries at two-fight skid into his meeting with Gastelum, which takes place at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 in Madison Square Garden, Till stressed he doesn’t fear a third loss.

“I may well lose; it could be another knockout,” he said. “There’s nothing to really say about that. Either it is, or it isn’t. If I know what I’m good at and I do it, Kelvin won’t touch me; he simply won’t lay a glove on me. But then again, it could go the other way and he could be victorious on the night. We’ll just have to see. So yeah, that would be a third loss, but at least I didn’t take the sh*tbag route – I’m fighting the best.”

Till said despite his resolve, White tried to talk him out of the Gastelum bout.

“Dana tried to convince me not to take the fight and I was like, ‘Why?’” he said. “So if it’s another loss, which it won’t be, so what?”

Till has flirted with the idea of fighting at the home of Liverpool Football Club, Anfield, for a long time. Regardless of what happens in an upcoming fight between middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa, Till is adamant that a meeting with “Stylebender” is the right fight to headline an event at the legendary football stadium.

“I couldn’t care less about the middleweight belt at the moment,” Till said. “Whatever happens with Israel and Costa, if Israel wins or loses, I feel like that’s the fight to make at Anfield.”

Check out the Darren Till press conference below (h/t Full Reptile).

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