If grades were handed out for performances at UFC Fight Night 115 last evening, Darren Till most certainly deserved an A+’.

The Liverpudlian dominated his fight against Bojan Velickovic from bell to bell and took home the scorecards unanimously. Speaking to reporters after, Till said that this was nothing he didn’t expect and that his mindset is now purely focused on the top of the division.

“I always expect to win,” Till said. “I always make statements like I’m the greatest fighter so it doesn’t matter if it’s a knockout, a submission, or three rounds, I always expect to win. After this fight now I’m actually quite emotional because I’m just continuing my rise to the top of the UFC. Every day I see my goal getting closer and when I started out in the UFC I was like, ‘Oh my god I got fight,’ but now I’m seeing like I’m a contender and getting the title and that’s what I live for.”

Till nearly finished the fight in the first round when he knocked the Serb down to the mat with a vicious elbow. Such was the force of the impact, Till believed that it had won him the fight and he explained why he didn’t follow up with an immediate onslaught when Velickovic hit the deck.

“Yeah, the elbow,” Till said, responding to a question as to whether he ever thought he’d finished Velickovic. “That elbow would’ve killed god. That was some elbow that. I hopped into it and I threw all 98-kilos of me at him. I jumped on him, gave him a few and I didn’t really ground and pound because I thought I’d killed that guy, I thought he was like dead, but then I looked and he was kinda like shimmying a bit and I was thinking ‘Oh my god, I’m going to have to work a little harder here,’ and he recovered. Hats off to a guy like that.”

All about respect

Despite all the punishment he was taking throughout the 15-minutes, Velickovic never gave up and he managed to survive several tricky positions. Till said he respected Velickovic for the heart he showed and that fighters should more often show their respect for one another.

“Listen, behind all the bad talk and the hype, and what fighters do, we’re both in there to try knock each other out and t’s the end of it,” Till said. “I mean, what are we going to do, carry on fighting? We got to respect fighters and we respected each other so much. You don’t understand. There’s a lot of respect and even during the fight he was talking to me and I was just like, ‘What’s happening?’ It’s fighting, it’s in the moment, it’s 15-minutes of fun.”

Showdown of the strikers

With the win in the bag, Till was already eyeing up his next fight. The Liverpudlian wants to throw down with a man that made a big impact last month at UFC Fight Night Glasgow and he thinks it would be a fan friendly showdown.

“I want to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio,” Till said. “He’s a good fighter and he’s just knocked out a good fighter in Gunnar Nelson. He said that he’s the best striker so, in my opinion, fans want to see fights like that. I say I’m the best striker and I know that I’m the best striker. He thinks, I know. I don’t care where he is in the rankings. I want to make a good fight and I want to fight him.

“He’s a good striker and he thinks he’s the best striker in the division. That’s not true—I am. Everyone knows it. I’m the best striker in the welterweight division so what are waiting for? Let’s just make the fight happen.

“I’m undefeated. I don’t care if I’m not in the top-ten, I don’t care. Let’s make that fight happen. Sean Shelby come on.”