Darren Till may be competing for a UFC title for the first time on Saturday night but that doesn’t mean he’s somehow going to be overwhelmed by the moment.
It’s not all that uncommon for fighters in these positions to wilt under the spotlight with intensified scrutiny leading into an event where a championship of this caliber is on the line.
Perhaps it’s the increased responsibilities that come along with a title fight such as increased media duties to help promote the event. Competing for a UFC championship also brings along a microscope that magnifies anything and everything a fighter does or says in the weeks or months leading up to the card.
Then there’s the preparation that goes along with getting ready for a title fight not to mention the once in a lifetime kind of opportunity because some fighters never get back to the top of the mountain if they falter in that moment.
It all adds up to a lot of pressure mounting on any contender stepping into a title fight but Till promises that he’s not only ready for it, but he welcomes every bit of the responsibility that comes along with being a champion.
“I don’t even think about pressure,” Till said ahead of his fight against champion Tyron Woodley. “If I had to deal with pressure, if I had to deal with, you know, all that stuff, I shouldn’t really be fighting in my opinion, you know.
“So to me, 10 million eyes, 10,000 eyes, it doesn’t matter. It’s still the same fight in my head.”
Now Till understands the difference between typical pre-fight jitters and the kind of jarring emotional state that rattles some fighters to their core ahead of an opportunity like this one.
The 25-year old Liverpool native has felt some of those butterflies in the stomach before stepping out into the cage to do battle with another competitor.
The difference is Till will never allow the weight of the moment to crush him and he feels like any fighter who does should probably start looking for another job.
“It’s normal to feel scared, to feel nervous, to get butterflies before a fight. That is normal emotions for a human being,” Till explained. “But if you start letting the types of pressure because there’s more people watching, because there’s more comments, because there’s more people who want a piece from you, this is our job. This is our job to fight. So pressure doesn’t come into it.
“If you can’t deal with the pressure before fighting, go and do something else.”
Till will look to prove he’s ready to be champion when he faces Woodley in the UFC 228 main event on Saturday night from Dallas.