Darren Till has said he considered faking an injury to get out of his fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 in New York on Saturday, which he eventually won via a split decision.
The Englishman said those events took their toll on him in the build to Saturday's win, per Nolan King of MMA Junkie:
"Just to get in there tonight, I tell you. I was trying to fake an injury before walking out. I was thinking of an injury to fake because I just simply did not want to get in there.
"This is probably a thing fighters don’t talk about. But you know me and I’m honest. That’s just where I was at. Now, I’m here. Confidence is back. Like (expletive) all these middleweights. I’m coming for everything. It’s back."
Till added he was "terrified" ahead of his fight with American Gastelum, who also went into the bout on the back of a loss to Israel Adesanya.
Till, 26, now boasts a professional record of 18-2-1 after the victory on his UFC middleweight debut:
Over three intense rounds, Till edged a tight fight decided by the narrowest of margins:
The win should propel the Liverpool-born fighter back into the conversation to be a UFC title contender.
In the headline bout of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden, Jorge Masvidal prevailed in his welterweight clash with Nate Diaz.
The fight was stopped in the third round by the doctor due to a cut sustained by the Californian above his right eye.