Through his first several years in the UFC, Darren Till rose to prominence as one of the most dominant fighters. However, Till’s recent struggles in the octagon have shed light on personal conflicts that have arisen over the last couple of years. That always saw him once go down a dark path of doing something that every fighter would lose respect toward him doing.
Darren Till’s rise in the UFC
Darren Till worked his way into a promising spot through the first three years of his professional career.
Till rose to stardom in Brazil, where he compiled a 12-0 record that earned him a shot in the UFC. It came in 2015 as he got off to a torrid start to tenure with the company that saw him win out of his first six fights with his only non-victory being a draw against Nicolas Dalby. That led to UFC President Dana White to declare on social media after his TKO of Donald Cerrone that he was the future of the business.
Things took a rocky turn over his next two fights as his first shot at the welterweight title against Tyron Woodley saw him get choked out in the second round. That was followed up by being knocked out in the second round by Jorge Masvidal.
Till bounced back with a split decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244, but it was during that brief tough stretch that he nearly chose to go an unexpected route.
Darren Till almost decided to fake an injury
Despite those two disappointing losses to Woodley and Masvidal, Darren Till has established himself as a mainstay in the UFC.
However, those losses took their toll on the 27-year-old as he nearly considered taking a disgraceful way out in a match. Following his win over Gastelum, Till admitted he almost decided to fake an injury to get out of the fight at UFC 244 that he wound up winning, according to Trent Reinsmith of Forbes.com.
“Just to get in there tonight, I tell you,” Till said. “I was trying to fake an injury before walking out. I was thinking of an injury to fake because I just simply did not want to get in there.
“This is probably a thing fighters don’t talk about. But you know me and I’m honest. That’s just where I was at. Now, I’m here. Confidence is back. Like (expletive) all these middleweights. I’m coming for everything. It’s back.”
There are likely many factors that weighed into it as he didn’t get the proper time to prepare for the match against Gastelum. Till didn’t arrive at the location of the fight in New York until two days before the event. He was also moving up to the middleweight division, which required him to move from 170 pounds to 185 pounds.
These are issues that many fighters can often face, especially with proper time to prepare for opponents. It’s frequently the case when another fighter has to step into the octagon as a replacement opponent. Nonetheless, Till wound up going the route that served him best.
Next challenge may present trouble
Those internal issues aside, Darren Till is lined up to keep the momentum rolling in the right direction with a matchup against Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 174.
It’s the second time in his UFC career that he will fight at 185 pounds, which he voiced that he no longer has to worry about his weight. Whittaker will be a tough challenge as he’s motivated after losing the middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya in his last fight at UFC 243 last October.
Before that disappointing loss, he was on a nine-match winning streak. It sets the table for what should be an entertaining main event on Saturday night.