With title aspirations still on his mind, Gastelum (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) admits he wasn’t thrilled with the Till matchup at first but knows he can’t underestimate the Brit.
“I agree everybody likes the fight, but everybody keeps saying ‘you’re going to smash him, you’re going to smash him,’ but Till is more dangerous than everybody thinks,” Gastelum reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage on Saturday at UFC 242. “He’s coming off two losses. A year ago, everyone was on him a year ago, and now everybody is like, ‘Oh, he’s nothing.’ You know, but he’s a great fighter.”
And while everyone expects this to be a tough middleweight debut for former welterweight title challenger Till, Gastelum knows not to feed into the outside noise telling him it’s an easy win.
“It’s easy reading the comments, because I do go through the comments sometimes like, ‘Oh, Gastelum’s got it. He’s going to knock him out, he’s going to do this, Gastelum 100 percent.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think they’re right,’ but you kind of have to check yourself and realize this is a dangerous guy. He’s a dangerous fighter.”
Till (17-2-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC), who’s got 10 knockouts on his resume, is known for his dangerous left hand. So is Gastelum, who respects the “Gorilla’s” power but just believes he’s a more well rounded fighter.
“He’s long, tense, tall, puts his chin up in the air, and he just waits for the big left,” Gastelum said. “In my opinion, that’s his biggest tool, just like me. I like landing that left, but I feel like if I need to open up my toolbox then I will, and I don’t know if he has that.”
Coming so close to capturing the interim middleweight title in a “Fight of the Year” candidate vs. Israel Adesanya at UFC 236, Gastelum hasn’t given up yet. He believes he’s still a top contender in the division.
“I feel like I maybe I have to get another win over somebody else, but I still feel like I’m in title contention,” Gastelum said. “I’m going to try to rally for the title shot or the rematch against Izzy (Adesanya) after the fight, so I feel like I’m still there. I need to go out there and make a statement with Darren Till.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Kelvin Gastelum: Darren Till 'more dangerous than everybody thinks'