After 15 months on the sidelines, former UFC title challenger Darren Till is set to make his return this weekend at UFC 282. But those comeback plans were nearly spoiled by a nasty eye injury that happened during training.
As ‘The Gorilla’ told MMA Fighting during this week’s media day, it was ‘the worst thing’ that ever happened to him.
“I was wrestling on the mat, and I shot for a takedown — I don’t know why I’m doing that — it was like the worst thing to ever happen to me,” Till said. “The guy’s middle finger, I felt it go to the back of my brain. I actually tried to carry on wrestling. Anatoly [Malykhin] — he just won in ONE Championship there — he was like, ‘Sit down. Sit your ass down.’
“It actually got worse as the days went on, and then I was actually worried, ‘I can’t pull out of another fight.’ But then it got better and it’s fine. It was one of the worst eye pokes I’ve ever had in my life, probably anyone will have ever seen. It was really bad when it happened. But it’s part of camp, isn’t it?”
Till’s last fight happened in September 2021 at UFC Vegas 36, against Derek Brunson, where he lost via third-round submission. He says he came in the fight compromised, but promises he did everything right for this upcoming contest.
“I don’t talk much about the injury, everyone knows I was injured,” Till said. “I couldn’t really do much for the fight, I just didn’t want to pull out of the fight, that was the thing it was back then.
“Now, I know I’ve got a little bit of a name and people always say I pull out, but I took that fight. I was absolutely f–ked. I’m not taking anything away from Derek, he beat me fair and square, but I was only able to prepare for that fight in one way and that was just a little bit of boxing pads and a little bit of the bike.
“I’ve had a good camp this camp, I’ve trained really hard, I’ve had good partners. I think if you look at me, you’re going to look at me on the scale whenever the [weigh-ins are], I’m going to be looking like what I used to look like.”
Till (18-4-1) will face former KSW welterweight champion Dricus du Plessis, who is currently on a five-fight win streak. The two are part of the main UFC 282 PPV card, which takes place on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena.
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