Darren Till didn’t get a win over Robert Whittaker at UFC on ESPN 14, but he still managed to catch the attention of reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Saturday’s main event ultimately played out over five rounds with Whittaker getting the nod by the narrowest of margins. Afterward, Adesanya took to Twitter to say he still hoped to face Till in the future while sending him a message of support.
“I still wanna fight Till one day,” Adesanya said. “His striking is beautiful. Stay up Darren!”
I still wanna fight Till one day.— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) July 26, 2020
His striking is beautiful.
Stay up Darren!
In response, Till couldn’t help but laugh at some of the messages he’s sent Adesanya’s way, as he became a bit of a social media superstar in the past few months.
“Another good friend,” Till said about Adesanya at the post-fight press conference. “I’m going to have to lay off DM’ing him for a while. All’s I do is scream in videos to him in Instagram videos. But I’ve got a lot of respect for Israel, he’s a great fighter.”
With a knockout win over Whittaker this past October, Adesanya cemented himself as the best middleweight in the world. He went on to defend the belt with a win over Yoel Romero, and his next fight already booked against Paulo Costa in September at UFC 253.
Till knows eventually he’ll work his way into a fight with Adesanya, and his confidence is high in that stylistic matchup. In fact, he feels like he got through a tougher test in Whittaker because the former middleweight champion was able to threaten him with takedowns several times over five rounds. He doesn’t see that same danger coming from Adesanya.
“This is no disrespect to [Adesanya], I think he’s probably an easier fight for me than Rob,” Till said. “Cause we’d probably have a great striking battle. Rob’s a bit different cause he mixes it up. I know Israel. Israel’s the champ.
“He’s a great MMA fighter, but he’s a pure striker. I think we’d have a great fight. Rob mixed it up a little bit. He’s wilder than me, Rob, like he’ll lunge with his head. Like he caught me with some cracker shots and I was eating them for breakfast.”
Despite the loss on Saturday night, Till doesn’t feel defeated because his fight with Whittaker could have easily gone his way in the final decision. It might take a couple more wins to get there now, but he’s certain a showdown with Adesanya is inevitable.
“Listen, me and Israel are going to fight one day,” Till said. “Just give me a little bit of time. I’ll come back, I’ll knock someone out and we’ll fight. Don’t worry, I’m still at the top.”