Darren Till has had a bit of a rough run over the past year. Last September, Till lost his bid for the UFC welterweight title, get submitted by Tyron Woodley at UFC 228. Then in March, Till lost his comeback fight when Jorge Masvidal knocked him out at UFC Fight Night London. It is the first two-fight losing skid of Till’s career and left the notoriously confident fighter in a strange position in the welterweight division, well outside of the title picture and looking for answers.
In the end, Till figured things out and will now be moving up to middleweight to take on fourth-ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244. Speaking to BT Sport recently, Till said he was still trying to figure out the next step for himself when this fight fell into his lap, and with an opponent like Gastelum, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“I didn’t even know what I was gonna do,” Till said. “I was in two minds and then Kelvin sorta called me out on Twitter and I was like listen, it’s sort of that stupid cliche saying, ‘Go big or go home.’ In my eyes, one of the chance to fight one of the best in the division. He’s a dog, he’s a dog, he’s a Mexican dog. So tough, so durable. I can’t turn down challenges like that.”
Till was in a bit of limbo after his last fight. Professionally, Till’s aspirations for the welterweight title were suddenly a long way from coming true but Till also admits that on a personal level, the loss to Masvidal rattled him for quite a while.
“It hurt a lot for a while. A lot of guys say, ‘I wasn’t bothered,’ but it hurt,” Till said. “Just because I just know what could have been after that fight. It could have been title, back in there, a lot of stuff. I even said to coach Colin, ‘Win or lose this fight, Colin, I wanna be straight back in and fight again,’ but it never quite went that way. I just like sort of fell off the wagon.”
Since joining the UFC in 2015, Till has been one of the more active fighters on roster. When Till does finally return at UFC 244 he will have been out of the cage for eight months, the longest absence of his UFC career. Till went on to explain that the Masvidal loss led to a small crisis of faith, and that his prolonged absence from fighting was about him getting back the confidence that he lost from back-to-back knockout defeats.
“All my life I’ve had this crazy confidence that I’m just this superhuman being inside that Octagon and in life and it got knocked a bit,” Till explained. “I’m not ashamed to say that. I want to get that back. It’s there. I’m still that confident guy that if you put me in front of everyone, I know I can beat them. I know there’s something in me that can beat everyone. I’ve got that technique and I’ve got that will. It got lost a bit after the fight, so I just had to find it. That’s why maybe it’s took a little bit longer to come back.”
The wait will be worth it though as Till is coming back in a big way. Aside from being the fourth-ranked contender, Gastelum is coming off the presumptive Fight of the Year against Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 and a win will immediately put either man on the shortlist of middleweight contenders.
Till faces Gastelum in the co-main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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Shade. Unlike Ronda Rousey, Ben Askren didn’t want to hide away after his loss to Jorge Masvidal.
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Israel Adesanya exchanges jerseys with Paul Pierce.
Fighters pick Whittaker vs. Adesanya.
A Mega TTTHS.
Anik & Florian. Recapping UFC Copenhagen plus previewing UFC 243.
UFC Unfiltered. An interview with Cub Swanson.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Jon Jones responds to Weidman.
Frank Lester coming in HOT with accusations.
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After 3 different houses, being screwed over by the best team in the world —->> (@jacksonwink_mma) & No.1 lb for lb fighter on the planet @jonnybones on over $13k on his last title fight, myself, my wife & our children Jordan, Braden, & baby on the way Arya, finally have a home big enough for all of us. I have no regrets, I did my job and everybody who has followed my journey knows I did my job, Jon Jones & Mike Winkeljohn just did me dirtier that I have ever even seen in this fight game. But good always prevails over evil and we have a home big enough for all of us. I will be opening TANK Mixed Martial Arts In the next 6 months and we are going to takeover the beautiful city of Albuquerque New Mexico! Karma is real. And Jon, it’s on site with me & you & you know that. You stole from my family. You got me fired from my job for no reason and for that I am grateful bc I will never work for a crook like Mike Winkelloser again. I’m 10X ‘s the coach you’ve ever been. You just bought out Greg’s name and unfortunately JACKSONS was out in the control of a dirtbag. But fuck you all very much! The only@thing that comes to Ming when I hear your names are, cowardice & deceit. It’s on site JBJ. So keep that security close F><k boy we both know you ain’t no real one. Real@ones don’t steal from pregnant woman & their families. #WARcertified #TANKLIFE #OnSite #RUNit #JBJ
That’s a heavy-ass belt.
I present to you the first photo of the ONE World Grand Prix Championship Belt. Weighing a whopping 26.4 pounds (12 kilograms), this stunning piece of artwork is a labor of love and design. See you on October 13 in Tokyo at ONE: Century! #WeAreONE pic.twitter.com/0cOC91ifhw— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) September 30, 2019
UFC fastest KO being memorialized on the #americantopteam wall. @GamebredFighter pic.twitter.com/IKKROdanEx— Mike Brown (@mikebrownmma) September 30, 2019
Dustin staying ready.
We'll see . . If something comes up that makes sense I'll jump on an opportunity. https://t.co/KhmpWxp4oO— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 1, 2019
Itching to get busy.
I miss my job! pic.twitter.com/xL2KV8qdNy— Neil Magny (@NeilMagny) September 11, 2019
So let’s Freaking Fight! https://t.co/KKc7dDBCaA— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) September 30, 2019
Free trip to Australia is an okay consolation prize.
Just want to say thanks to all my supporters unfortunately upon arrival in Australia I found out that my opponent pulled from the fight due to injury. The fight will be rescheduled so until then I’m going to enjoy this delicious donut and explore the land down under #TeamRocky pic.twitter.com/e0WxKUfgFo— Raquel Pennington (@RockyPMMA) September 30, 2019
I don’t . . . I don’t understand.
Keep your friends close but your gold closer! -Triple C #golddiggers pic.twitter.com/fOOV90uAhX— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) October 1, 2019
Wow. What a letdown of a poster.
Who IS the BMF in the game?!— UFC (@ufc) September 29, 2019
Your #UFC244 poster has just landed! pic.twitter.com/GQl8BhAOl7
And this one is just boring.
Thoughts on the #UFCSingapore poster?— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) September 30, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/CDlZH2rtMl pic.twitter.com/IwWXYAdls1
Kevin Holland (16-4) vs. Brendan Allen (12-3); UFC on ESPN 6, Oct. 18.
Nick Newell (16-2) vs. Manny Muro (9-6); Bellator 232, Oct. 26.
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