A leg injury forced Till to withdraw from the bout and now Hermansson faces Chris Curtis in the co-main event of Saturday’s event at O2 Arena.
For Hermansson, Till’s eventual withdrawal wasn’t unexpected.
“I kind of anticipated it through the whole camp,” Hermansson told reporters at the UFC London media day. “I don’t know why, I just had a bad feeling about it — maybe because the first time I wanted to fight him he declined the fight, second time he pulled from the fight, third time he didn’t even announce the fight himself. I couldn’t see any sign of him fighting, so I just had a bad feeling about it with me through the whole camp. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised.”
“The Joker” is no stranger to getting last-minute opponents over the past couple of years. In fact, Hermansson was scheduled to face Till in the main event of UFC Vegas 16 in December 2020 before a Till withdrawal led to Hermansson being paired up with Kevin Holland. A positive COVID-19 test scratched Holland from the bout and Hermansson went on to lose a decision to eventual opponent Marvin Vettori.
Hermansson is 1-2 over his past three fights, including a recent main event decision loss to Sean Strickland at February’s UFC Vegas 46 event. On the flip side, Curtis is is 3-0 inside the octagon, which includes stoppage wins over Phil Hawes and Brendan Allen, along with a decision win over Rodolfo Vieira less than a month ago at UFC Vegas 47.
While getting a short-notice opponent once again isn’t ideal for Hermansson, he understands that the sport can bring a slew of curveballs.
“It’s a big part of the MMA game. It happens all the time,” Hermansson said. “You just need to be ready for anything.
“Chris is a great opponent. He has a lot of experience, a lot of fights, a lot of wins, heavy hands, won all his fights in the UFC, eight-fight win streak. I think he’s as good as it gets. He’s one of those guys trying to climb into the rankings and he’s right up there. He’s a great opponent.”