Darren Till is one of the top contenders in the UFC welterweight division, but the breakout talent has been criticized for getting a title shot over Colby Covington, who beat Rafael dos Anjos earlier this year to win the interim belt.
It was announced on Tuesday that Till, not Covington, would challenge reigning champ Tyron Woodley for the official 170-pound title at the upcoming UFC 228 pay-per-view on Sept. 8.
It was an offer Till couldn’t refuse, and the Liverpudlian fired back at ‘toxic’ MMA fans for criticizing his decision. After all, it’s not like he could have just told UFC president Dana White ‘no, mate’ when offered the title shot.
“(UFC President) gave it to me,” Till told MMANytt.com in a recent interview, per MMA Junkie’s Steven Marrocco. “What do you want me to do? Just say no? Go, ‘Dana, it’s fine, I don’t want that title shot. Give it to someone else if they deserve it.’
“If Dana’s offering the title shot, I’m not going to say ‘no, mate’. This is what we do. MMA is good, and MMA fans are so amazing. But also, they can be toxic at the same time. Not just MMA fans – the fighters and people in general.”
Till has also come under heavy criticism for missing weight, as the 25-year-old weighed in heavy at UFC Fight Night 130 and was forced to forfeit 30 percent of his purse to Stephen Thompson, who he beat via unanimous decision in the main event. ‘The Gorilla’ also missed weight by a whopping six pounds at UFC Fight Night 109, and is clearly one of the biggest welterweight fighters on the roster.
“Everyone keeps going on with the weight, the weight, the weight,” Till said. “I’ve never seen someone get so much (expletive) for not making weight one time. It’s like I’ve never made weight. I can’t wait to come back and make the weight to be the new UFC welterweight world champion.”
Till promises to be on top of his weight cut vs. Woodley and believes he has learned from his mistakes.
“Usually I always leave it until I have a big cut, because I know I can do the big cut,” Till said. “But maybe because I’m growing and getting bigger and older, maybe it’s time to get the weight down early. I want to get the weight down early, so there’s no problems, and make weight healthy.”
UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till takes place on September 8 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.