In throes of weight cut, UFC 228’s Darren Till plans a future at 185 pounds

LAS VEGAS – Darren Till apologized for being in a bad mood.

It was apparent something was bothering the U.K. star as he worked out and answered questions for reporters at the UFC’s Performance Institute. It didn’t take long to find out what.

“I just (expletive) hate it,” Till (17-0-1 MMA, 5-0-1 UFC) said. “I hate it. I could be three kilos from right now, and I just hate it.”

The stress of food deprivation is affecting the No. 1 welterweight contender. While a personal chef has made Till’s life a little bit easier as he prepares for a welterweight title shot at UFC 228, he still has to lose the weight.

“I feel good,” Till told reporters at a media day in support of his Sept. 8 pay-per-view title fight against champ Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC). “I just want to be able to eat some white rice. I’m (expletive) hungry.”

Of course, Till did not disclose his current number on the scale. But he said his cut is going well, or at least better than his previous fight, which he called “a piece of piss.” He said he’s ahead of schedule to make the 170-pound limit.

“This is probably the leanest I’ve ever been two weeks out,” he said. “Usually, two weeks out, I carry baby fat. Right now, I’m lean. I’ve got more muscle than my last fight.”

The caloric sacrifices are part of the deal for Till if he’s to meet his goal of becoming the welterweight champ. They also remind him that his time as a 170-pound fighter will come to an end, and sooner rather than later.

Till speculated he may move to middleweight if he wins the welterweight title and defends it once.

“So you’ll be looking at two, three fights at welterweight, and that’s me done,” he said. “I’m 25. I’m not putting my body through this for much longer.

“As I get older, I’m starting to see that it’s just not necessary. It’s a lot of weight to cut, and I don’t need to do it.”

Till stressed that a move up to middleweight doesn’t mean he’d follow the recent trend of champions calling for superfights. As it is with his current division, he said he wouldn’t say no to a title shot, as he did when interim champ Colby Covington turned down Woodley. But he would earn his keep in the middleweight division, where he said there’s plenty of desireable matchups.

Not among them is two-time title challenger Yoel Romero, he joked.

“I’m glad he’s gone up,” Till said. “He’s a (expletive) beast.”

Welterweight is where Till turned himself into a star, and it’s where he plans to make his mark by becoming the first UFC fighter from Liverpool to win a UFC belt. After that, the clock starts ticking on his move.

“In two weeks, I can be making that goal a reality, and then after that, I want to defend, and it’s probably me going to middleweight,” he said. “That’s how I see my future playing out.”

UFC 228 takes place Sept. 8 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 228, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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