For the first time in 15 months, former UFC title challenger Darren Till will compete again this weekend at UFC 282. A serious eye injury sustained during practice nearly derailed his return aspirations.
During the media day earlier this week, Darren Till said that it was “the worst thing” that had 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?”
In September of 2021, Till faced up against Derek Brunson, and was submitted in the third round. He claims he was already compromised when he entered the battle, but he has prepared properly for this one.
“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.”
At welterweight, Till (18-4-1) will meet Dricus du Plessis (5-2), a former champion of the King of the Cage promotion. In fact, they’re both on Saturday’s main program at the T-Mobile Arena.