Unbeaten UFC star Darren Till wants to face either Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson or Jorge Masvidal when he makes a triumphant homecoming at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on May 27.
Till is back on Merseyside having trained in Brazil for almost four years and sent a chilling message to his welterweight rivals last summer by stopping the highly-ranked Donald Cerrone inside a round.
As the 25-year-old looks to accelerate the growth of his reputation as one of the sport’s biggest names, he’s keen for the standard of his opponent to match the grandeur of the occasion.
Till said: “I don’t know how many times I have to ask for Stephen Thompson but he just doesn’t want to fight. I know some guys have injuries and so have I – knees, shoulders; everything’s bad.
“Now, Jorge Masvidal is getting mentioned. He says he hasn’t been in the gym but I haven’t myself. It gives us 10 weeks to prepare to come and have it with each other.
“Masvidal is from the streets and used to street-fight with Kimbo Slice. If he wants to come to Liverpool and take my thunder, I’ll be there waiting to take his head off.
“Now, if someone in the welterweight division wants to challenge me, you won’t hear me saying I don’t want to fight him because he’s a great wrestler or good on the ground. If he’s the guy to beat me, I’ll accept the fight like a man and take the loss like the man I am.
“I don’t believe any of them can beat me but if anyone out there in the top 10 or believes he can beat me, I want that fight to prove that he can’t. If he can, I’ll accept it like a man. I don’t care about declining fights.”
Till’s profile has expanded dramatically since his violent victory over ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone – prompting comparisons with Conor McGregor.
For his part, Till is always planning for the future and believes sharing a management team with some of the very brightest stars in the sport of boxing speaks for itself.
Till added: “After Conor McGregor, I’m already the most talked about fighter in the UFC and for MTK to want to sign me after that win over Cerrone as the new MMA star, there was no way I was passing up an opportunity to work with them.
“The way MTK work is everything’s got to be the big, the best and the baddest. My mentality is the same. They have Tyson Fury and he’s one of the best in the world. I’m in with that team and my name gets mentioned along with them. It’s a big honour.”
Follow Darren Till on Twitter @darrentill2