After an impressive start to his UFC career culminated in a title shot against welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in 2018, Darren Till has struggled to stay in the win column. The Englishman is 1-4 in his last five fights.
In that five fight span Till lost to Woodley by submission, Jorge Masvidal by TKO, Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision and—most recently—Derek Brunson by submission. His only win during that run was a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum.
The fight with Brunson, which happened back in April, was the main event for UFC Vegas 36. The bout saw Till get taken down multiple times and eat some hard ground-and-pound before eventually giving up the fight ending rear naked choke in the third round.
On a recent appearance on ESPN Till spoke about his performance against Brunson.
“It was tough to take, it was real tough to take,” he said (ht MMA News). “I’m not disrespecting Derek in any way, shape, or form. Blonde Derek Brunson was doing the job. But when I was in there with him, I didn’t feel myself and I felt sloppy, but he just felt so slow, even his takedowns and his striking.”
Till went on to claim that, under different circumstances, things would have panned out very differently.
“For me, if this was in the gym, I’d have fucking broke his skull. I know he’s gonna see this and say, ‘No…’ But under different circumstances—I just couldn’t identify myself in there. But at the same time, maybe, in my opinion, that night Derek was just the better fighter. I always say this, I never try and give excuses… I don’t wanna disrespect Derek. I still wanna give him his props. He beat me fair and square. The better man, the better fighter that night (won). But it was tough for me to take.”
Since the loss to Brunson, Till appears to be on a quest to rediscover the form that saw him cut through the UFC’s welterweight division. Part of that quest has taken him to Sweden’s All-Stars gym. At that well-known facility Till seems to have found a friend in Khamzat Chimaev.
Till and Chimaev have filled social media lately with their exploits. Chimaev is preparing to take on Gilbert Burns with hopes that win will see him fight for gold at 170 lbs. Till is yet to book another fight. He currently sits at eighth in the UFC middleweight rankings, between Jack Hermansson and Uriah Hall.