Because of that, Brunson (23-7 MMA, 14-5 UFC), who earned a third-round submission over Till (18-4-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) at the UFC Apex, said he’s able to speak openly about his most recent opponent in the fallout of the middleweight contender bout.
Takedowns and grappling were the key to victory for Brunson, who extended his winning streak to five fights with his performance. Till was unable to keep from bottom position for long periods, and Brunson was able to wear him down before locking in a rear-naked choke to force the tap.
Afterward, Brunson sympathized with Till’s loss.
“I feel bad for Till,” Brunson told MMA Junkie and other media at the UFC Fight Night 191 post-fight news conference. “I really like the guy. I think he thinks he’s like a badass kid who says edgy things on Twitter or Instagram, but I think overall he’s like a good person. He’s really, really, really funny.
“I think the guy can put it together. It’s just small things. He’s really explosive, really good on the feet. He has really good feints, very confident. It’s just the small things he has to address – maybe even thinking about 170, or just fine-tuning some of the wrestling things that are defensive. If he’s able to keep it on the feet, he can do a lot better.”
Till is still just 28, so he likely has much more time in the sport remaining than the 37-year-old Brunson. That experience was an advantage for him in the matchup, Brunson said, because he knows what it’s like to go through bad times. He’s optimistic for Till’s future, though, and thinks working on his wrestling is a must.
“His takedown defense was OK,” Brunson said. “I’ve got good finishes with the chain wrestling. I can’t say his takedown defense was really bad, I just chain the attempts together (and) attacks really good. I know what it takes to take somebody down. There’s some things he can look back and improve on. Get back and work on those things and be better for his fights going forward.”
Despite Till being 1-4 in his past five fights, Brunson doesn’t think the Brit is unworthy as a middleweight contender. Brunson spoke highly of him, in fact, and has argued beating Till should secure a title shot against the Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker winner.
“He’s as good as some of the other guys,” Brunson said. “Him and Whittaker had a pretty decently close fight. He dropped Robert Whittaker in their fight. It went five rounds and nobody got finished there. I was able to impose my will and get the finish. So you’ve got take something from that fact that Whittaker’s fighting for a title and his last fight was against Whittaker and it went five rounds and he had some good moments in that fight.”
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