London, England — Like Nate Diaz in a post-fight interview, Jack Hermansson’s not surprised.
Not surprised that Darren Till pulled out of their UFC London match-up, that is.
“I kind of anticipated it through the whole camp. I don’t know why, I just had a bad feeling about it,” Hermansson (22-7) told media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s media day. “Maybe because the first time I wanted to fight him, he declined the fight. Second time, he pulled from the fight. Third time, he didn’t even announce the fight himself, couldn’t see any sign of him fighting. And it just gave me a bad feeling about it, so I kind of had it with me through the whole camp. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised.”
Hermansson was surprised, however, by the unexpected, unannounced arrival of Khamzat Chimaev at his gym ahead of this fight.
“He just showed up on the doorstep, and that’s the truth,” Hermansson said of the high-profile Chechen-born Swede. “I’m always first at the gym, opening up in the morning. I was going to the gym and then like 50 meters away, I was like ‘man that looks like Khamzat,’ and sure [enough] it was. I didn’t ask too much about it, to be honest. I was just happy to get another high-quality training partner. I just opened the doors for him, and we trained for a week.”
The pair had trained together in the past; according to Hermansson, “Borz” gets better every time out. That said, Hermansson admits he was a little suspicious about Chimaev’s arrival, given the widely reported friendship between Khamzat and Till.
“It’s hard not to think a little bit about it,” Hermansson admitted with a laugh. “Everybody that I speak to has their own theory; some guy suggested like ‘man, he was there and then he saw the shape you were in, he told Darren ‘f*ck this Darren, don’t do this, if you have an injury, this is not the time to fight Jack.’ So he kind of tested the water.'”
Another theory went that Chimaev knew Till was injured, knew he wasn’t going to take the fight, and just wanted to get some training himself. “Or he just doesn’t care. And just took the opportunity to go and train. Either way is fine, I don’t care.”
Chimaev has Nate Diaz up next. As for Hermansson’s own fight, he’s gone from Darren Till to Chris Curtis. “Darren has better straight punches, Chris has better hooks and body shots. A different boxing style, even though they both do a lot of boxing,” Hermansson observed. “I feel like I know how to handle both styles.”
Watch the full UFC London media day appearance from Jack Hermansson above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the O2 Arena in London, England.