UFC star Darren Till has labelled Wigan’s Mike Grundy his ‘inspiration’ as the Team Kaobon teammates prepare for their bouts at this evening’s Fight Night at the O2 Arena.
Grundy’s fight against fellow Brit Nad Narimani will open the event before headline fighter Till closes it against Jorge Masvidal.
It will be Grundy’s UFC debut after 11 wins of his 12 mixed martial arts fights, following his switch from wrestling.
The 32-year-old, who coaches at Wigan & Leigh Wrestling Club, is a close friend of Till, who has nothing but praise for him.
“People have been saying Mike Grundy is the new young gun in UFC but he’s not,” said Till.
“He’s my coach, he’s my elder, he’s been fighting a lot longer than me.
“He’s an inspiration to me, he sometimes comes to me and says ‘You’re an inspiration, Till’ but it’s the other way around.
“He’s the more dedicated man, he’s the more professional man.
“On his days off he’s taking kids to wrestling – he’s the man to aspire to be and now he’s got his chance.”
Grundy’s featherweight battle with 31-year-old Narimani will be broadcast live on UFC’s subscription streaming service Fight Pass from 5pm ahead of the main card on BT Sport. Liverpudlian till has backed his training partner to come out on top.
“I’m meant to sit here and be biased and say he’s going to smash everyone,” added Till. "Reality check, I hope he does really well, I believe he’s going to win.
“His training has been phenomenal, his weight cut is on point and his head is in a good place. Both of us are on the show, he’s starting the event and I’m closing the event.
“It’s time to do business now, he’s more excited than me! He’s done this, I’m very proud of him. We’ve trained together, we’ve killed each other in training, that’s what true teammates do."