6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) / 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb) / Middleweight
Liverpool’s own Darren Till is one of the most charismatic fighters in the UFC roster. He is also one of the best fundamental strikers in the game; the way he lands his combos is lightning fast and crisp. Till has fought for the title once but fell short; he is still young and still has the potential to go on a title run.
Early MMA Background
Till started training Muay Thai at a young age, and that has been his best strength when it comes to competing at MMA. Due to his many troubles in his hometown, he moved to Brazil to train appropriately.
In 2013, Till made his pro-MMA debut in Brazil against Luciano Oliveira Riberio, where he won via unanimous decision. Till then went on a long run and most of his fights ended in stoppages.
After having won his first 12 MMA fights, he finally entered the UFC. For his UFC debut, he faced Wendell de Oliveira and spectacularly won his fight. He was landing his signature elbow to knock Oliveira out.
Many were not aware of Till’s rise because he primarily fought outside of the US. In the next fight, he faced Nicolas Dalby, and the fight was ruled a majority draw. Although Till then went on to win his next two fights against Jessin Ayari and Bojan Veličković.
Till vs. Cerrone
The first big name that Till fought was Donald Cerrone. Many fans are aware that Cowboy is a household name, and it was Till’s biggest chance to gain attention from the fans. Cerrone has been through it all; he has the most fights and wins in UFC and has even fought for the title more than once. It was also the main event for a UFC Fight Night.
Till looked much bigger compared to Cerrone, but he was also fast for his size. Once Till read Cerrone’s timing, he landed an elbow that stunned Cerrone. It was just a matter of time for Till to finish the fight in the first round. The way Till just uses the basic fundamentals so effectively shows how great of a fighter he is.
The UFC then offered Till, Stephen Thompson, which was a huge step up in the rankings. Thompson was just coming off a title fight loss and for the UFC to give Till that type of spot was shocking. Till does have potential stardom, especially with UK fans so that may be the reason that UFC granted him a top contender.
The fight was booked in Till’s hometown of Liverpool, and the fans were rooting for Till. Unfortunately, Till was not able to make weight at fight night.
It was a massive event, and it was an enormous chant for Till, all throughout. The fight was a bit lackluster than expected; maybe it was because both fighters were waiting too much for the counter and were also aware of how dangerous both strikers are.
Till won a controversial decision and some thought that Thompson should have edged a win. Till became a top contender with a win over Thompson.
Till vs Woodley for the Title
Even though Covington won the interim belt and was supposedly set to face Tyron Woodley next, the timeline did not work for Covington and the UFC instead gave Till the title shot at UFC 228.
Till was the favorite in the fight; with the massive size advantage and undefeated record many were expecting Till to win the fight. That was not the case, as Woodley made Till hesitant in the first round.
When the second round started, Till decided to advance and got caught with a pull counter that knocked him down. Woodley looked for the finish by landing vicious elbows and strikes but Till was too durable. Instead, Woodley secured a D’arce choke that made Till tap.
Till suffered his first loss but it was for the title, the UFC then booked him for Jorge Masvidal where he suffered another loss but this time a knockout loss. It was a big blow against Till’s career and he decided to move up to Middleweight instead. Till cuts, a lot of weight and it will surely affect his chin.
Move to Middleweight
For his UFC Middleweight debut, he faced Kelvin Gastelum who was a highly ranked fighter at that time. It was a risky fight for Till since Gastelum was coming off an impressive performance against Israel Adesanya.
Till managed to score points on the outside, neutralizing Gastelum’s power. With his size advantage, he outscored Gastelum in a decision win.
Another massive step-up for Till as he faced former Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, next. Till had great moments, but it was Whittaker who dominated most of the fight. Whittaker was just too well-rounded for Till, and the experience may have played a factor as well.
His latest fight was against Derek Brunson, who is a tough matchup for him since Brunson is an elite wrestler. In the fight, Till had better stand up, but he could not stop Brunson’s takedown. Once Brunson takes him down, he just has no answer. In the third round, Brunson secured a rear-naked choke that stopped the fight.
Till has lost four of his last five fights, it is a tough pill to swallow, but Till still has the potential to be a world champion. He just needs to work on his wrestling more, and he has not yet reached his prime years.