01 Jan Jack Hermansson ‘definitely rooting’ for Robert Whittaker to beat Darren Till
Jack Hermansson is just days removed from a lightning-quick submission victory over Kelvin Gastelum but he’s not quite sure he’s getting the credit deserved.
Despite pulling off a heel-hook at just 1:18 into the opening round, the middleweight contender feels like more attention is being paid to Gastelum’s shortcomings than what he did to finish the fight.
According to Hermansson, he set up the submission and locked in the hold just like he’s done thousands of times in training. Ultimately, he says Gastelum just fell into his trap.
“I feel like people are talking more about ‘oh he made a mistake’ than giving me the credit for the victory,” Hermansson told MMA Fighting. “I know that this submission is not a fluke. It’s something that I do all the time in training and something I prepared for. It’s something we drilled and something we knew could happen.
“You need to really have the right mechanics [to get that heel hook]. You could see my first attempt, I was below his knee, he could easily kick out. The second attempt, I managed to get in deep, get high with my hips, use that to get him down to the ground and I was able to apply a proper finish.”
The win put Hermansson back on track after he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Jared Cannonier in his previous outing. That fight stopped Hermansson’s four-fight win streak, which included a victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Hermansson knows the win over Gastelum won’t necessarily erase that defeat but it definitely makes a statement as he continues his climb up the middleweight ladder.
“I had a great run before the Cannonier fight,” Hermansson said. “I lost that momentum but I felt like with a great victory and a quick finish, I can get back to the place where I was. I felt like I managed to do that.”
Following his fight with Gastelum this past weekend, Hermansson immediately turned his attention to the matchup he wanted next.
With former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker scheduled to face Darren Till in the UFC on ESPN 14 main event this weekend, the 32-year-old Swedish born fighter felt like that was an easy call when targeting a future opponent.
Unfortunately, Till shot down the possibility while adding that a win over Whittaker should result in a title shot and nothing else. Needless to say Till’s comments definitely convinced Hermansson who he wants to win on Saturday night.
“I’m definitely rooting for Whittaker,” Hermansson said. “Just because they need to give Robert Whittaker someone else [other than the champion]. Hopefully they’ll feel the same.
“If Till wins, it’s very likely they’ll put him for the title. That’s how it works when you’re a big draw for him but I personally want Whittaker to win.”
Even before Till declined a potential fight against him, Hermansson already felt like Whittaker had more than enough tools to get the job done.
“I see Robert Whittaker coming off with the win actually,” Hermansson said. “I can see Robert Whittaker having those skills that Darren Till doesn’t handle too well like the explosiveness and the leg kicks that he does. The fast combination striking, I think that’s going to be a problem for Darren Till.
“Whittaker covers distance very well and Till can be a little bit open in the middle. He can also be a little too flatfooted so I think that’s going to be a problem against Robert Whittaker.”
Even if Whittaker wins, Hermansson knows it’s not guaranteed the former champion will choose to fight him because Cannonier will also be coming back from injury later this year.
That said, Hermansson has faith in his team at Paradigm Sports Management to get him the fight that makes the most sense as he looks to move forward in the division rather than back again.
“I need to wait for the right fight,” Hermansson said. “You can’t always pick and choose but it’s got to make sense, that’s for sure. I’m definitely willing to wait for the right fight.”