When it comes to trash talk, Darren Till doesn’t dish out what he can’t take in return.
“The Gorilla” has become one of the UFC’s most active trash talkers on social media, regularly taking shots at his rivals and posting irreverent memes, and that behavior has been no different ahead of his middleweight main event bout opposite Derek Brunson this Saturday at UFC Vegas 36.
With Brunson happy to trade online shots with him, Till doesn’t see it as anything personal and he believes that these kinds of exchanges go hand-in-hand with combat sports.
Till pointed to the recent pre-fight dispute between Tyron Woodley and Jake Paul that included Woodley’s mother as an example of an incident that may have crossed the line, but in the end shouldn’t distract from the fight itself.
“I don’t hold no hatred towards Derek,” Till said at the UFC Vegas 36 media day on Wednesday. “He’s a man on a mission. I like to talk sh*t, everyone knows this. I’ll talk as much — someone asked me the other day, ‘Do you think it was bad what Jake Paul’s team did to Mama Woodley and that?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, to Mama Woodley, yeah,’ but in my opinion in this fight game as well nothing’s off limits.
“We’re two men, we’re about to go in there and rip the heads off each other, so if you’re going to start getting offended with things that people say to your mum and that, maybe this isn’t the sport for you. You need to go and find another sport or if someone’s saying something about your kids and sh*t like this, find something else to do because you need to have thick skin in this sport. Especially you need to have thicker skin when you’ve got a man on top of you trying to elbow you straight in the face. That’s how I look at it.”
Till went as far as to give a point to Brunson for how active he’s been in going back and forth online. If anything, he admits that his messaging towards Brunson has been a bit uneven, something that Brunson himself noted on media day as he claimed Till has been vacillating between being a good sport and antagonizing him.
“With Derek, it’s been a bit cooler, like he’s a cool guy,” Till said. “He’s done about a million memes of me on Instagram, I couldn’t even keep up, so I was like, ‘You know what? Derek wins the social media trolling.’ He trolled me good. It was fun, it was lighthearted, and that’s true, I know he says I’m a bit weird with me stuff, like he’s saying, ‘One day Till’s wishing me family well, the other day he’s putting things up.’
“I wish his family well, I hope he’s got money, I hope he’s okay, but I’m still gonna go there and punch a f*cking hole in his head on Saturday. That’s the mentality and I hope he’s got that same mentality. But it’s all love.”
Most important for Till right now is having the opportunity to steal Brunson’s thunder right out from under him. Brunson has won four straight fights heading into Saturday’s headliner, with wins over the likes of Kevin Holland and Edmen Shahbazyan putting him right back into the thick of the title hunt.
When it was suggested that Brunson is one of the most underrated fighters at 185 pounds, Till agreed.
“Right now he is, yeah,” Till said. “He’s beaten all these top guys. I’m not trying to discredit Kevin Holland and Shahbazyan and the other guys he’s beat and say, you know, I’m a different monster. I know I’m a different monster but he’s beaten all these top guys, he’s on a f*cking roll, he knows what he wants, he knows the man he is and what he wants to be. I have to respect that, as always.”