UFC star Darren Till makes plea for Wigan's Mike Grundy to be given London O2 chance

Darren Till is co-headlining the O2 event in March
Darren Till is co-headlining the O2 event in March

UFC superstar Darren Till has made an impassioned plea for Wigan's Mike Grundy to be given his shot in London - admitting he works "even harder" than him.

Till is looking to bounce back from his UFC welterweight title heartache when he returns to action against Jorge Masvidal at the O2 Arena on March 16.

Mike Grundy has won 11 of his 12 MMA fights

Mike Grundy has won 11 of his 12 MMA fights

And the Liverpudlian wants his Team Kaobon training partner Grundy, who has won 11 of his 12 MMA fights and also wrestled for England, added to the bill.

"Only thing missing from this great card at UFC London is Mike Grundy," Till wrote on Instagram. "This lad works exceptionally hard and has always been there for me every step of the way and every fight camp.

"I've always said in this game I am one of the hardest works. But I know that to be untrue when it comes to Mike Grundy. He works even harder than me and is unbelievably dedicated to fighting."

He finished the post with a #grundy4london and the post won the backing of several Warriors players including England captain Sean O'Loughlin, who has trained at Grundy's Wigan gym.

Grundy was a champion wrestler and won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the men’s freestyle 74kg event, while also carving out a name for himself in MMA - of which the UFC is the premier competition.

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Till has previously backed Grundy to be given his crack.

A year ago, when he was asked about the prospect of boxer Floyd Mayweather fighting in the Octagon, Till replied: "When you have a guy like Michael Grundy who hasn’t got a carrot in his pocket, he’s driving to and from the gym, he’s got kids to support, a wife to support, he’s 30, he’s been in the Olympics and he doesn’t know where his career is going.

“And then you’ve got a guy like Floyd Mayweather who’s worth a billion dollars and he just expects to (come) into the UFC – I take real offence to that, because I see what Grundy goes through. It’s ridiculous. I hate it.”

Till suffered the first mixed martial arts defeat of his career when he submitted to 170lb champion Tyron Woodley in Dallas last September.

There was speculation he would move up a division but he has decided to continue campaigning at welterweight, where he is ranked third by the UFC.

In what will be only his second bout in England - having spent much of his professional career in Brazil - Till (17-1-1) takes on an American opponent with 32 wins and 13 losses in a UFC Fight Night main event.

Masvidal, six places below Till in the UFC welterweight rankings, has dropped decisions to Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson in his two most recent contests while he did not compete at all last year.

In the co-headliner, Jamaican-born Englishman Leon Edwards will look for his seventh successive win when he takes on Iceland's Gunnar Nelson - a training partner of Conor McGregor - in another welterweight contest.