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Darren Till not planning to fight MMA outside UFC after release, but says there’s been ‘crazy offers’

UFC 282: Till v Du Plessis
Darren Till
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Darren Till has officially parted ways with the UFC, but don’t expect to see him pop up in another MMA organization anytime soon.

The one-time UFC title challenger appeared on the Believe You Me podcast to talk about recently being released from the UFC per his request, including what that means for his fighting future and whether he’ll compete while also taking time off to recover from injuries.

“I spoke with [UFC executive] Hunter [Campbell] and the guys at the UFC — this is after my last fight — because Hunter’s been on me for a long time, like, the last two years ever since I fought [Robert] Whittaker,” Till said. “He’s always on me hard, like, ‘Darren Till, listen. We do believe in you, you’re going to go all the way, but we’re sick of you being injured. We’re just not putting up with it.’ This was for two years going on and I was always promising, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m OK now,’ but obviously I just haven’t been OK for two years. I just haven’t really serviced my body.

“After the last fight, I spoke to him, ‘Hunter, listen, I really need to get my body right but I feel like I need to do it outside of the UFC. I feel like I need two years off to just go and focus on something else for the time being, sort of take the attention away.’ He was like, ‘Think about it, but we’re not in the habit of bringing people back to the UFC once they’ve left.’ In my mind I was like, ‘That’s all good about you saying that now, but I’ll get back when the time is ready.’

“We spoke back and forth and then the other day it came up that they cut me, but obviously, they’d sent me release papers because I asked them if I could be released. And that was it, then the news just ran and my phone’s been non-stop never since. It’s a new little chapter until I go back there.”

The past few years have been a struggle for Till, who has fought sporadically due to frequent injuries and had little success when he has managed to step into the octagon. He has competed just six times since 2018, with one win during that stretch. Till is currently on a three-fight losing streak with submission defeats in his past two outings.

Now, Till is a free agent, but out of respect to Campbell and UFC President Dana White, he doesn’t expect to make too many non-UFC appearances.

“I think it would be disrespectful,” Till said. “I’ve got a good relationship with Hunter and Dana, I think it would be disrespectful for me to say I’m going to go and fix my body and then take fights outside the UFC even though the past two days I’ve had some f****** crazy offers to fight on other shows. Everyone’s texting me and all the managers and stuff like that. ‘Someone wants to give you this or that.’ I’m like, OK. In my mind it would be quite disrespectful to Hunter and Dana to do that, whether I do it or not, it’s a different thing, you’ve got to think of yourself and money and that. I’m probably not going to do that.

“This is the thing. I’m striking-capable. I can strike all day, there’s nothing wrong there, it’s just as soon as I start inputting the MMA my knees just buckle and there’s just nothing left there no more at the moment with them. I think it’s time to get them right and really service them in the best way and I think I’m going to do that, so that’s the plan.”

Till assured hosts Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith that he’s doing well mentally and that at age 30 he still has plenty of time to recover. That doesn’t mean he’ll just be sitting on his laurels for the next couple of years though.

If possible, Till might dabble in other combat sports that don’t take the same toll on his body that MMA has.

“I’ve got a two-year plan in my mind,” Till said. “I feel like it’s going to be a f****** unbelievable plan and I’m going to execute it to the most I can. That’s it, I don’t want to say too much about it, but I’m going to make a truckload of money. I’m going to probably do a striking match or two because that’s my forte and hopefully by then I’ll have figured out this f****** rupture with my knees and stuff and I’ll be good to go.

“Listen, how many guys go to the UFC and say, ‘Release me.’ How many guys actually do that? Some of the guys when they’re on the way out, like Nate [Diaz] wanted to be released and stuff like that, but there’s not many guys who do that and I’ve had a lot of time to think about my decision. That’s why I was happy when Hunter actually said to me, ‘Till, think about it because it’s a big decision. Think about what you’re doing.’ And I said, ‘OK Hunter, I respect that. Give me two weeks to just think.’ I’ve thought of the plan, the route, the path, and I’ve got a full plan in place.”

Till remained vague on what his exact plans are, though he insisted that he wants to return to the UFC when he has his health sorted out. Until then, he expects to maintain his strong relationship with Campbell and White.

“There’s three major organizations — I won’t say their names — but what they’ve said to people who have come to me is I’m a hot property right now if everyone wants me,” Till said. “But as I said, everyone knows inside the sport what kind of guy I am. I’m probably a little bit of a maniac, but I’ve got my models and values and respect so I probably wouldn’t do that to Hunter and Dana, after my release just going off and signing with another organization. I wouldn’t do that, I’m a respectful guy. Whether people think they’re respectful or not, they’ve always been respectful to me, so I have to give that same energy back.”

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