For a time, it looked as though Mike Perry and Darren Till would become arch rivals in the UFC welterweight division. After their initial trash talk and callouts, however, the pair developed a mutual respect for one another.
In the buildup to UFC 227 in early August, both Mike Perry and Darren Till were in Los Angeles for the UFC’s 25th Anniversary press conference. While in Los Angeles, the two welterweights were able to get some face time in. It was during this time that Perry famously asked Till to spar. Till initially agreed, thinking that Perry had invited him to the spa, but was no less on board when he realized that Perry had actually invited him to a sparring session.
From there, the pair donned their gloves and partook in a sparring session behind closed doors.
Speaking on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio, Mike Perry explained how this sparring session came about.
“We were out there in LA and I decided, you know, I was talking shit to him on Twitter so long ago, and he called me out in the Octagon after he beat “Cowboy” [Cerrone],” Perry said, referencing his past beef with Till. “I lost against [Santiago] Ponzinibbio, otherwise we would’ve already fought.”
“I figured ‘hey, I’m sure you want to punch me in the face Darren Till… We both have an opportunity here. Let’s go try to punch each other in the face.’ And he was with it,” Perry continued. “He got in the Uber with me, it was just me and him. He didn’t bring nobody with him, it was just me and him. We went to the other hotel where the fighters were. We picked the mats up that they were putting all the UFC stuff away. And he had one end of the mats and I had the other, and we were like setting up the ring for us to beat each other up on. And then, he starts warming up and stretching and shit like, and I was like, ‘aaah shit, alright, I guess I better warm up too, he is getting it over here'”.
So how did the sparring session itself go? Well, Mike Perry could not deny his rival’s skill.
“I mean we all know he’s already good,” Perry said of the sparring session itself. “You know what I’m saying? But I mean, I could let you all know, he’s good. He caught me with some good shit too. Took me to the ground a couple of times, things like that, you know.”
While Mike Perry and Darren Till are now quite friendly, that certainly doesn’t rule out a future fight between them. Perry knows this would be a tough challenge, but he’s confident he could find a way to win — even against an opponent as massive as Till.
“Listen, when we all meet at 170,” he said of Till’s size advantage. “The height in our bones is the only difference-maker. And then that makes the styles for the fights and, you know, most tall guys are weaker in certain areas. Especially when a small guy like me gets underneath them and gets inside.
“He’s so big if he doesn’t keep me at range or keep me at distance — and that’s the thing about Till, most of his fights I’ve seen the opponent didn’t want to go in the way that I do. You know what I’m saying?
“People are afraid to go in on him and get cracked. Not me. I go forward no matter who I fight. I don’t know how to fight really any other way. Going forward is what I do.”
Do you think we’ll ever see Darren Till and Mike Perry meet in the Octagon?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/23/2018.