Dricus Du Plessis says Darren Till never mentally recovered from recent losses: ‘I think he’s in his own head’

LAS VEGAS – Dricus Du Plessis thinks middleweight was a rude awakening for Darren Till.

Du Plessis (17-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) faces Till (18-4 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 282 main card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on ESPN+.

Till went unbeaten in his first six UFC fights which led to a title shot against then-champion Tyron Woodley. He fell short in his pursuit of gold and went on to lose his next fight to Jorge Masvidal by knockout. But with the weight cut down to 170 being a hefty one for the popular Scouser, Till decided to move up to middleweight, but he’s yet to find the same success in his new weight class.

“I think he’s in his own head,” Du Plessis told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a pre-fight news conference. “When he started out, he was extremely motivated, he was a force at 170, he was a big 170, he was imposing his style on people. Once you get to the big boys at middleweight, it’s a completely different story.”

Till has struggled since moving up to middleweight. The former title challenger at welterweight won his divisional debut against Kelvin Gastelum, but then dropped two straight to former champ Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson.

Based on his own experience of moving up from 170 pounds to 185, Du Plessis doesn’t think Till made the necessary changes to properly transition to the weight class above.

“I think he took the move up as almost an easier route and that’s not the case at all,” Du Plessis said. “We hit a little harder, everybody’s a little stronger at 185, and I believe that was where the big mistake came. Then, of course, Darren Till losing the big fight against Masvidal, getting back against Gastelum it was not an amazing performance but he got the W, and then getting those losses – definitely the mental aspect, that’s where his biggest downfall came and I don’t think he recovered from that. I think that’s where he’s his own worst enemy.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 282.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie