Less than a year ago, Darren Till was considered a serious threat to the UFC welterweight title as he prepared for a showdown against then-champion Tyron Woodley.
At the time, Till was an undefeated contender with a stunning knockout against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and a unanimous decision victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson that put him near the top of the welterweight rankings.
So it wasn’t an accident that Till got a title shot but Woodley dispatched him in relatively easy fashion, finishing with a second-round submission in the UFC 228 main event.
Till didn’t return to action for another six months. His first fight back ended just as badly as his last one after Jorge Masvidal silenced a partisan London crowd by snuffing the British slugger with a vicious knockout in the second round.
Since that time, Till has largely stayed off the radar — outside of an arrest in Spain for stealing a taxi — but there hasn’t been much word on when he will fight again much less if he’ll stay at welterweight or perhaps test the waters at middleweight instead.
UFC president Dana White, who praised Till in the wake of his wins over Cerrone and Thompson, still believes there’s a lot of potential hiding inside the 26-year old Brit but perhaps the promotion put him in the spotlight before he was truly ready.
“I think Till went back to the drawing board. He’s a young guy and after the win over ‘Cowboy,’ we might have pushed him a little too soon,” White said when speaking to ESPN. “It happens sometimes when a guy gets that much steam behind him and pump the brakes a little here. Let him get back and work on things that he needs to work on and he’s going to be around.
“You come in and beat a guy like ‘Cowboy’ and boom, you immediately get bounced right up into the middle of the rankings and some people it’s the perfect time, some people it’s are a little soon. That weight division is nasty. It’s like murderer’s row in that top eight. So we’ll give him some time, look for a next opponent and see what’s next for him.”
White couldn’t say if Till was committed to welterweight or considering a move to middleweight but ultimately that decision will be up to him.
Till had previously teased a potential move to middleweight following his loss to Woodley and then walked that back by taking the fight with Masvidal at 170 pounds.
It appears the UFC is allowing Till the time off to not only recover from the knockout in his last fight but to figure out exactly what he wants to do next before rushing him into another fight.