While Gastelum would eventually accept the bout with Till, it didn’t come with some reluctance on his side.
“I put a lot of thought on who my opponent is and why I’m fighting him, and will it get me to the title shot — will it get me closer to where I want to go,” Gastelum said to MMA Junkie. “I definitely asked those questions, and none of them applied to Darren Till. I don’t think if I win — it’s not going to get me a title shot. It’s not getting me closer. But I just think I need to go out there and make a statement against a guy like Darren Till because of my last performance. I want to go out there, I want to show that I’m still hungry, I’m still in contention, and I’m still one of the best guys around at this weight class.”
Till is making his middleweight division debut in this encounter, while Gastelum has been competing at middleweight for several years now.
Gastelum also believes that Till is going to have some problems competing against other members of the UFC Middleweight Division.
“It’s a little scary,” he said. “The guys are a little bit bigger, they hit a little harder, but they are a little slower. It’s a little scary. I don’t think it’ll be an easy transition for him. I think he’s going to have trouble with these bigger guys and competing at this weight class, to be honest.”
UFC 244 takes place on Saturday, November 2 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.
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