On Wednesday, Dana White reportedly revealed that Orlando’s Feb. 24 event had moved to England, where Darren Till would face off against Stephen Thompson.
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, who originally tweeted the news about the matchup, later clarified that White said that he was having meetings to “hammer out the details of several fights”, including Till versus Thompson, suggesting that nothing had been set in stone as of yet.
The news sent shockwaves through the MMA world, but like seemingly everyone else, Till had heard nothing about the potential matchup.
“I hadn’t heard a thing about it,” Till told MMAFighting.com.
“Obviously, Dana said what he said — he’s speaking very highly of me since the Cerrone win — and I guess he was thinking that me and Wonderboy would be a really good fight.
“He was talking about making that fight in England, and of course, everybody immediately started talking about Liverpool. Nothing has been set in stone, but let’s be honest, the next day the whole Internet was talking about it.”
While the reaction to the initial report suggested that Till and “Wonderboy” would definitely be something the fanbase is interested in seeing, Thompson’s father and coach later told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that the Thompson camp had “no interest” in fighting the Scouser.
“I didn’t take any disrespect from it,” Till commented on Ray Thompson’s dismissal of the bout.
“At the end of the day, everybody has been doubting me since day one and that will always be the case. I’m always going to have people telling me I’m not worthy.
“To all those people — I just want to say f**k you, because I don’t care about their opinions. The only peoples’ opinions I care about are the people close to me. I’m ready to take on anyone in that division.
“I’m ready for Wonderboy. If he doesn’t think I’m ready or he’s scared, UFC can just give me someone else. I respect him and I think he’s one of the most respectful fighters in the game. If he doesn’t want to fight me there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Till and Mike Perry had fans clamoring for them to meet in the Octagon after Till called for a showdown with “Platinum” immediately after his first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC Gdansk.
As two of the most captivating personas in the welterweight division at the moment, a fight between the two could potentially generate more interest than a clash between Till and “Wonderboy”.
According to Till, the only interesting thing about a fight with Perry would be the build-up.
“I think the build-up would be the most interesting thing about me and Perry because I know I’d knock him out in one round.
“I’d elbow him right in that stupid haircut,” he said, before acknowledging his respect for his rival. “With Perry, it’s a guaranteed good build and a good fight. He comes to fight and I respect that. Perry would be an amazing fight for England.”
John Kavanagh recently also added Gunnar Nelson to the list of names that would consider a matchup with Till, who is a wanted man at the moment. The 24-year-old Till claimed that once he gets to fight in Liverpool, he doesn’t care who is standing across the Octagon from him.
“Right now, I don’t care as long as they give me an opponent in Liverpool. If Kavanagh wants Gunni, that’s fine, Gunni can get it. If Perry beats Ponzinibbio, get Perry. If Wonderboy wants to fight, let’s get Wonderboy. If Colby wants to fight, get Colby.
“All of these guys are talking about me. The outcome will be the same no matter who I get so I don’t care — it’s a win-win situation for me with any opponent.”
Although the initial reports were squashed, the Team Kaobon standout says his next fight will definitely be in Liverpool.
“It’s all up in the air at the moment, but Dana gets what he wants. He wants it in England. I don’t care about London, I don’t care about Vegas, I want to fight in Liverpool and that’s where I’m going to fight,” stated Till.
“One hundred percent, it’s definitely going to happen. My next fight will be at UFC Liverpool. I’ll be in the main event for the first UFC show in my city, making history.”
Considering all the names that he could potentially end up facing, Till still thinks Thompson would be the best man suited for the job.
“Wonderboy is obviously the ideal (opponent) because he’s the highest ranked. If you’re going off rankings, he’s the highest. I’ve always said that rankings don’t matter, but I think I can KO Wonderboy,” he said.
“They all think he’s the best striker, so let’s put him against me, a guy who knows he’s the best striker.
“I’m telling you now that I will knock him out. I’m going to put a big nice gash through his head.”