Liverpool is a city rich with sporting history, but most of the time people only tend to focus on football. Whilst that makes sense, combat sports is certainly on the rise in the north and there’s one man who is leading the way for the Scousers in that department – UFC fighter Darren Till.
We recently spoke with Darren in an exclusive interview, and we wouldn’t be exaggerating to suggest that it was one of the most entertaining chats we’ve ever been a part of. The 24-year-old was entertaining, electric and diverse; and that’s before he even steps foot inside the octagon.
“The UFC should be considering me to be the next big thing in MMA. Conor McGregor is on his yacht somewhere with a full belly, full of money. Jon Jones isn’t coming back. Who else is there? I think the only name on everyone’s lips should be Darren Till. That’s all there is to it.”
Till gave us a taste of the showmanship that we can expect to see over the course of the next few years, with the Liverpudlian aiming to become the next breakout star not only in the UK but in the whole of the UFC.
Having trained in Muay Thai from a young age Darren knows what it takes to survive, and we mean that in the most literal sense possible given that he was actually stabbed twice in the back just over five years ago.
But like anything in his life, Darren took it in his stride and moved forward with his MMA career – which took him all the way to Brazil.
“I miss living out there [Brazil]. It was a great culture, a great environment, a lot of people were relaxed out there. Sometimes I miss the beach life or the heat, but you know, let’s not just stay in one place for all of our lives.
I know it’s a cliché and people say ‘one life, live it’ but that is the truth. Let’s travel. This time next year I could be in Antarctica fighting. I could be there training, picking up ice blocks.”
There, Till was able to hone his craft like few could’ve imagined, training with the best whilst simultaneously becoming a household name on the Brazilian circuit. It seemed like only a matter of time before this kid competed at the highest level, and in 2015 he finally made the move up to the big time.
Just three weeks after his last fight, Till knocked out Wendell de Oliveira before continuing his unbeaten run in his next three outings. Whilst an injury did sideline him for quite some time, it seems to have only made Darren hungrier to obtain the UFC gold that he has coveted for so long.
“Right now, every day I wake up thinking of Donald Cerrone. I have his image in my mind. So when I go to bed at night, I think of Donald, and when I wake up in the morning I think of Donald. That’s the only thing that matters right now.”
What you see is what you get with this young man and that’s the best thing that you could hope for at this stage. Sure he’s confident, but if you’re not then heading into a cage to wage war with some of the best in the world may not be the career for you.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 8, 2017
It’s good, then, that Darren has that mentality given that he’ll be squaring off with UFC legend Donald Cerrone in the main event of UFC Gdansk next month.
To say it took people by surprise would be an understatement, but thankfully Till is more focused than he’s ever been before and you can tell that just by listening to him. His words combined with his poise reminds us of a young Conor McGregor, and whilst some may see that as an overstatement, make sure you tune in on October 21st to see what he’s all about.