UFC President Dana White reveals he tried to stop Darren Till from fighting Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 in New York

7 Sep

Dana White has revealed he tried to stop Darren Till from facing Kelvin Gastelum in his middleweight debut, but the ‘Gorilla’ insisted.

And the UFC President has nothing but admiration for the courage shown by Till as he begins the next chapter of his career up at 185lbs.

UFC 244 promises to be one of the most stacked cards of the year, with fans learning the main event at Madison Square Garden on November 2 will be none other than Nate Diaz vs Jorge Masvidal.

Darren Till is looking absolutely enormous ahead of his middleweight debut

But fans will undoubtedly be intrigued to see how Till fares moving up a weight class after back –to-back defeats to Masvidal and Tyron Woodley at welterweight.

While the 26-year-old certainly looks in tremendous physical condition ahead of his move up in weight, he could have hardly picked a more daunting opponent in Gastelum, who took Israel Adesanya to the very depths in their interim middleweight title fight back in April.

And White told BT Sport he has nothing but admiration for the Liverpool-native.

“I said things in the press that I felt like we rushed that kid and here he goes,” he said. “He wants to fight Gastelum at a higher weight and I love it, I respect it.

“So we tried to talk him out of it, he wasn’t having it, that’s the fight he wanted and so we did it. Much respect to him.”

And when asked if his foe in November had any doubts, White received an equally succinct answer.

“No, Gastelum’s one of those guys that there’s never hesitation – he’ll fight anyone.”

The move up a weight class is a tried and tested method in MMA, with the aforementioned main event taking place at welterweight – despite both Diaz and Masvidal starting their professional careers as lightweights.

And given how brutal Till’s weight cuts to 170lbs were and how devastating both of his previous two fights ended, a move up a division seems a natural route to take.

Considering Gastelum himself was also once a welterweight, it seems as though Till has the perfect fight to finally make a statement in this division.

White added: “And this might be one of those situations where maybe we didn’t rush him; he was at the wrong weight class.

“He was cutting too much weight and didn’t work for him. We’ve seen it happen for other fighters, so maybe that’s the case for Till.”

UFC star Darren Till stuns fans with physical transformation ahead of middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum

4 Sep

Darren Till has stunned fans with his physical transformation as he prepares for his middleweight debut at UFC 244.

The Brit is moving up to the 185lbs division to take on Kelvin Gastelum at Madison Square Garden on November 2 in New York City.

Darren Till is looking absolutely enormous ahead of his middleweight debut

Till’s weight cutting to the welterweight limit during the early part of his UFC career were legendary, even missing weight for his fight against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in May 2018.

In fact, so draining was the process to get down to 170lbs, the 26-year-old even revealed he went blind at times and nearly died.

After back-to-back losses at welterweight to Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal, a move up a division seemed the best thing for ‘The Gorilla’.

When the 26-year-old was asked if he was pushed to do too much too soon in his career, he said no.

“I know I’m a better fighter than Woodley. I know I’m a better fighter than Masvidal, but those two were better than me on the night and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles,” he said before reaffirming his belief he would eventually become a UFC world champion.

And it seems Till is living up to his Gorilla nickname if his latest training footage is anything to go by.

The ‘Gorilla’ is seeking redemption after back-to-back losses in the UFC
The Scouser had to go to tremendous lengths to cut weight to make welterweight

Training out of Kaobon Gym in Liverpool, Till is working extensively under trainer Colin Heron to add size to his six foot frame.

Upcoming foe Gastelum has also experienced a move up in weight class, having been a career welterweight early on.

The move up paid dividends as he stopped former UFC middleweight Michael Bisping en route to losing an enthralling interim title fight to Israel Adesanya in March.

Darren Till to make middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 in New York

27 Aug

Darren Till is moving up to middleweight where he will face Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 on November 2.

Till will make his debut in the 185 pound class at Madison Square Garden having teased the step up in weight for over a year, but held off while he was near the top of the welterweight rankings.

Till has a 17-2-1 record with both his defeats coming in his two most recent fights
Getty Images - Getty

However, since successive defeats to Tyron Woodley, where he was submitted in the third while challenging for the welterweight title, and Jorge Masvidal in his most recent bout, Till, 26, has decided upon a fresh challenge..

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the fight on Monday night. “Darren Till is moving up,” he wrote on Twitter. “Till vs. Kelvin Gastelum at middleweight is a done deal for UFC 244 on Nov. 2 in NYC, per sources.”

The Liverpudlian will have a huge task on his hands up against Gastelum, himself a former welterweight, who has beaten the likes of Johnny Hendricks, Michael Bisping and Ronaldo Souza.

His career record reads 15-4, with the California native’s most recent fight, against Israel Adesanya, ending in defeat earlier this year.

The unanimous decision loss at UFC 236 resulted in Gastelum failing at his shot for the interim middleweight title, and he’s currently the fourth ranked fighter in the division.

The main event for UFC 244 is still to be determined, though various reports claim Kamaru Usman will clash with Colby Covington on the card.

UFC Fight Night 152: Danny Roberts recalls controversial Claudio Silva fight and looks ahead to Michel Pereira match

16 May

England’s Danny Roberts steps back into the octagon on Saturday night for the first time since his controversial loss to Claudio Silva at UFC Fight Night: London in March.

The welterweight, who fights out of Liverpool like Darren Till and Molly McCann, moved to 16-4 after his loss to the Brazilian, but the decision is largely accepted to be the wrong one.

Danny Roberts in disbelief after his fight with Claudio Silva stopped
UFC

Officially, the result says Roberts loss via armbar in the third round and the referee made the decision believing Roberts verbally signalled his submission.

He seemed to be the only person in the O2 who saw it that way. talkSPORT caught up with Roberts ahead of his battle against UFC debutant Michel Pereira on Saturday and asked what exactly happened last time.

“Simply put, it was a hard-fought fight,” Roberts started. “And there was a few moments throughout the fight before the ending came where you could say there was a little bit of politics with it. I did not submit. I did not verbally submit. I didn’t submit in any kind of way. At the time, I could hear Claudio [Silva] talking to the ref and encouraging him, so it’s just something where it’s a fight, you know? It’s between me and him and it doesn’t really involve that third party.

“The third party is there to watch and oversee, make sure that everyone is safe. Follow by the rules too, and that’s it. So the influence the ref got from him in the fight was one of the major upsets for me and the hardest thing to swallow. It wasn’t necessarily fair in that sense. It was a hard pill to swallow at the time, but, at the same time, it has just fuelled me even more going into this fight with Michel Pereira.”

UFC president Dana White agreed with Roberts’ assertion and made his feelings clear on Twitter that night. While Hot Chocolate is pleased White agreed, ultimately, he couldn’t take much solace from it.

“At the same time, it doesn’t get the result that I wanted and needed. It still goes down as a loss moving forward and in the world that we live in, you’re only as good as your last fight. If we look back at this in two years time, it’s still a loss. For me, I came out of that fight with a lot of tension. I wanted a rematch. I got my agent and my team and we tried to arrange something. I wanted to let the guy’s face heal – as you could see, the damage was on his face and not mine – and I wanted a rematch straight away and I asked for it in Brazil. His home turf and yet, it wasn’t something that we were able to get.

“I’m hopeful that one day in the future we can get this show back on the road between me and him. He’s a guy who hasn’t had a loss in over 11 years, got a lot of stuff going on and I just felt like he played the game a little bit into his hands. To me, that’s a dirty, sly move to do. So personally, as a fighter, I haven’t got that much respect for him.”

But, what about his next test, Pereira? Another Brazilian, Pereira has made his name with viral videos and Roberts insists that won’t help him when they square off.

“He’s a tricky one, I’m not going to lie,” Roberts cautioned. “We’ve watched some footage on him, the viral videos that got him into the UFC; his backflips, his spinning kicks – so he’s got a lot of unpredictability when it comes to fighting. Now, if you look at the scales when it comes to the fight, you’ve got me on one side who is a very dominant, true, heart-to-heart kind of fighter and on the other side you’ve got a showman.

“So it’s probably going to be a fan favourite fight and probably Fight of the Night. As far as training goes, we’ve got a wealth of talent at Hard Knocks 365 and we’ve got our own plan that we’re going to execute on the night. We can expose the holes in Pereira’s game and I’m going to shut him down real quick.”

The welterweight division is stacked with talent and big names right now. Kamara Usman recently usurped Tyron Woodley as the champion at 170lbs, but there is also names like Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, Darren Till, Leon Edwards, Robbie Lawler and Stephen Tompson that would all makes great fights – to name just a few.

Danny Roberts throwing up the Wakanda Forever sign

Sow how does Roberts go about cracking the top 10? It seems like he’ll have every opportunity after revealing that he has signed a new contract with UFC.

“I know my ability, I know my true self. Apart from a few small errors under the lights, still to this day, I don’t feel like I’ve been dominated by any man. The UFC know, I’ve just re-signed a new deal with them and UFC knows there’s plenty more to come with me. I was on a two-fight win streak before what happened at the O2, so now we need to get back on a winning streak, build, get a little bit of momentum behind us and a year, two years down the line I know I’m going to be in the top 10 and forcing my will on the top talent.”

What about the UK talent, though? Edwards and Till hold top 10 positions in the UFC and could be interesting domestic showdowns with Roberts.

Danny Roberts in action
UFC

“We’ve got UK talent. I know what the UFC are like; every now and again you’re going to get the best versus the best or you’re going to get hometown fighters fighting hometown fighters. Me and Till are both from Liverpool. We’ve spoken before and he’s a nice guy, but for the sport we’re in, we have to fight. I’ll fight anyone, anytime anywhere and that’s just the way I am. So if it came down to it and UFC offered me Till, of course, I wouldn’t turn that down. But again, the welterweight division has a wealth of talent so it’s one of them, we’ll have to see.”

Roberts takes on Pereira at UFC Fight Night 152 in Rochester, New York on Saturday as part of a card headlined by fellow welterweights Rafael dos Anjos Vs Kevin Lee. You can watch it on BT Sport.

UFC London: Piers Morgan sends tweet to Darren Till following his knockout defeat as bizarre feud between the pair continues

17 Mar

In one of the more bizarre feuds on social media, Piers Morgan has landed the most recent dig in his ongoing quarrel with UFC star Darren Till.

Welterweight contender Till was knocked out in the second round of the main event at UFC London by American Jorge Masvidal on Saturday night.

Piers Morgan has been feuding with Till

Morgan then sent out a tweet early on Sunday morning following Till’s loss, saying: “Hi mate @darrentill2, you’ve gone a bit quiet. Everything OK?”

It is the latest in a series of jibes exchanged between the presenter and the MMA fighter, but it remains unclear what exactly triggered this animosity.

While the Good Morning Britain host is know for his outspoken posts and quick-witted put downs, Till is far from a shrinking violet, previously telling Morgan: “You need a smack in the chin that’s what you need.”

He has also compared Morgan to a “sloth’s a***hole” and hit out at his love life.

Darren Till has himself aimed insults at Morgan

Not one to let a insult slide, Morgan sent a message to Till prior to his bout with Masvidal.

He wrote: “Morning @darrentill2 – see how you get on against @GamebredFighter on March 16 & let’s chin-chin after that… if he doesn’t break your jaw.”

Rest assured, this feud looks like it’s going to rumble on and on for some time yet.

Conor McGregor latest: Liverpool fan Darren Till calls out the Notorious for clash in either Las Vegas, Ireland or Anfield

11 Jan

Darren Till has called out Conor McGregor for a monumental April UFC clash.

The Scouse sensation is looking to show he can still compete for world titles after his crushing defeat to welterweight king Tyron Woodley in September.

Conor McGregor has been called out by Darren Till

Likewise, McGregor is keen to prove to the world he still has the drive to compete at the highest level after being pummelled by Khabib Nurmagomedov just a month later.

While it is unclear what weight the fight would take place at, Till is certain fans across the world would flock to see him get in the cage with ‘The Notorious’.

Listing Ireland, Las Vegas and Liverpool’s stadium of Anfield as potential fight destinations, the 26-year-old even had a dig at McGregor’s whiskey brand, saying Proper Twelve is “proper s****”.

Till is recovering after defeat to Tyron Woodley

He told iFL TV: “I want the McGregor fight in April.

Khabib defeated Conor McGregor to retain his UFC lightweight title on October 6

He added: “I’m still ranked No. 3 and I want like a number two or the number one to get back into it.

“McGregor, he’s the f****** biggest name in the world so why would I not push it?

“It’s a possibility. Anfield, I’m from Liverpool. You’ve seen what happened at Liverpool.

“There’s bigger dreams ahead now.

“Anfield, it’s never been done.

“Conor has done a lot of things that people thought would never happen. Look what he done in boxing. So why can’t I say it out loud?

“A lot of people will probably hate on me for it but It’s just what I believe, what I dream of.

“So f*** what everyone thinks to be honest with you. If he doesn’t come to Anfield, f****** Croke Park.”

Conor McGregor latest: The Notorious potentially set for UFC return against Al Iaquinta after Twitter spat

9 Jan

Conor McGregor could be set to face Al Iaquinta in 2091 after the UFC stars were involved in a Twitter spat on Wednesday.

McGregor has not been seen in the octagon since October when he was soundly beaten by Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

McGregor could well be set to face Al Iaquinta

Although an immediate rematch has been touted, the ‘Notorious’ has vowed to work his way up the rankings for another world title shot if needs be.

However, it seems as though he is going to have to get through ‘Raging’ Iaquinta before he can consider a rematch with Khabib.

The former two-division champion was engaged in a Twitter spat with renowned coach Firas Zahabi, who suggested McGregor would lose if he were to fight Max Holloway again.

After a stinging Tweet aimed at Zahabi, McGregor then found Iaquinta popping up in his notifications asking to be roasted.

The American performed admirably against Khabib at short notice

Naturally, the outspoken Irishman responded by putting up a picture of the bruised and beaten American, who was less than impressed.

Iaquinta wrote back: “Ehhh not ur [sic] best work.. saving the good stuff for the fight ur [sic] so smart.”

The New York native is 6-1 in his last seven UFC contests, with his only defeat a decision loss to the formidable Nurmagomedov – a fight he took at late notice.

His last appearance in the octagon saw him put on a convincing display against Kevin Lee as he emerged with a unanimous decision victory.

McGregor’s next career move has been heatedly debated across the globe, with the 29-year-old even offering to fight Tenshin Nasukawa – the starlet who was thrashed by Floyd Mayweather.

A return to the boxing ring has been mooted, as has an all-British clash with Darren Till at Anfield.

Darren Till wants UFC fight with mega star Conor McGregor at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium

27 Oct

Darren Till has sensationally called out Conor McGregor for a UFC showdown at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium.

Scouser Till wants the ‘Notorious’ to face him on home soil after the Irishman was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov

Nurmagomedov battered McGregor in their lightweight title fight at UFC 229

Till is waiting to confirm his next fight after suffering defeat to Tyron Woodley in their welterweight title fight in September.

Similarly, McGregor has confirmed his desire to fight again after suffering defeat to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 – despite receiving an indefinite suspension after his part in the brawl which followed the fight.

Although a rematch with the Russian has been touted, the lightweight has admitted he will wait his turn to get another go at the undefeated champion.

Instagram Photo

The Irishman has two previous fights at welterweight – a win and a loss against rival Nate Diaz. A trilogy fight would appear to be the Irishman’s most likely move given the financial clout the bout would bring all parties involved.

Till lost out to Tyron Woodley in his last fight

Till has admitted a move up to middleweight might be his next option given the difficulty he has making the 170lb welterweight limit.

Either way, a British Isles clash with two of the best strikers in the UFC at a packed out Anfield stadium would be incredibly big.

 

UFC 228: Darren Till fails to become Britain’s second world champion as Tyron Woodley secures submission win

9 Sep

Darren Till failed to become just the second British UFC world champion as Tyron Woodley secured a submission win over the 25-year-old at UFC 228.

In Texas, Woodley sent Till to the floor early in the second, before forcing the Liverpool fighter to tap out with 41 seconds of the round remaining.

Woodley showed his dominance over Till in the second

Till more than held his own in the first round, but 36-year-old Woodley dominated the second round and deserved his win.

“Tyron was the better man,” Till said. “I’m gutted. I’ll be back stronger.

“It just really, really hurts.”

Woodley, who has proven talk of him being past his best is premature, commented: “He’s a tough kid. My coach told me I’ve got to be ready to go all the way in. I was just taking my time – I saw he wasn’t going away easy and took my time to get the job done.

“This feels pretty awesome. I don’t believe in ring rust, but I’ve been away for 14 months.”

Woodley quashed suggestions he is past his best

Earlier in the evening, there were wins for Diego Sanchez, Darren Stewart, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Jessica Andrade.

Darren Till’s stunning win against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone ahead of UFC welterweight title fight against Tyron Woodley

4 Sep

Ahead of Darren Till’s welterweight title fight against Tyron Woodley, talkSPORT.com looks at his stunning victory against the legendary Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in 2017.

The 25-year-old Scouser never looked in trouble against one of the most respected fighters in the UFC.

He didn’t know how to combat Till’s punching and the fight in Poland was eventually stopped in the first round.

Till, from Liverpool, has the chance to become UFC welterweight champion

His opponent, the 36-year-old Woodley, won the belt Till will be trying to claim at UFC 228 on 8 September when he stopped Robbie Lawler in 2016.

Since then he has seen off Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia to retain his crown.

However, this is a ‘super fight’ according to the champion.

“My focus right now is fighting Darren Till, going out there and putting on a great performance,” he said. “A fighter that’s worthy of my attention, bringing true skills to the table. I think that should be my focus. We’ll talk about any other type of fights after this fight is over with.”

Till is undefeated in 18 mixed martial arts fights. “Getting this belt won’t make me content,” he said. “Winning the middleweight belt after this one won’t make me content. The only time you will see me content is when everyone is calling me the greatest fighter of all time.”