Darren Till’s loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 was the first defeat of his professional career. Against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, Till found himself up against a far superior fighter than he had previously encountered.
Despite his best efforts to capture the UFC Welterweight Championship, Till came up short, losing via submission after Woodley successfully applied the D’arce choke. Prior to the fight it looked as though Till had a good chance of winning UFC gold for the first time, following a string of impressive victories inside the Octagon.
The Liverpool born fighter may have lost the battle for UFC gold, but if he learns from his errors against Woodley, he can win the war and claim championship gold. The fact that he even managed to progress to a championship match is an achievement he should be proud of.
By losing his undefeated streak, he will provide Conor McGregor with some hope, as the Irishman comes up against the undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. In the Khabib vs McGregor odds, it is the defending champion Khabib who is the current favourite to reign supreme, at a price of 8/13 from Paddy Power.
The fighting style
Fans and pundits have discussed the similarities between Darren Till and Conor McGregor with regards to their fighting styles. Both competitors possess tremendous striking power, with the ability to knock out their opponent with one punch from their left hands.
Their personalities both inside and outside the Octagon share some similarities too. Both fighters have a certain confidence, arrogance if you will, and each claim that they are the best fighter in the world. While they were trained in different disciplines, Till and McGregor share similar fighting stances, opting to keep their hands by their side, rather than keeping them up near their head to defend. They bring their trash-talking abilities into the Octagon too, taunting their opponents throughout the match, hoping to win the psychological battle in an overall effort to win the war.
Despite having the potential to knockout his opponent with one punch, Till’s strikes came of little use against the supreme grappler Woodley, who was dominant from the start. The fact that previously, Till had never faced off against even a half-decent wrestler, put him at a disadvantage immediately. Coming up against an All-American who is known for his power inside the Octagon, Till needed far more experience against similar opposition to prepare for such a big fight.
Till said after the fight that he got his warmup wrong and that he should have been more aggressive backstage. In his mind, he believed he had already won the fight and it was his overconfidence that left him vulnerable to Woodley’s ability and experience.
Prior to the fight, Woodley dismissed the advantages that people were claiming Till had, in particular, the advantage of being the younger fighter. Woodley, 36, claimed that he was the fastest and most powerful welterweight in the division and that despite being 11 years younger than him, it’s not enough for Till to just be tough and be confident.
This is only the beginning of Till’s journey to the top of the UFC. Till is not one to give up, more than most, he knows what it is like to overcome obstacles to achieve your dreams.
On a night out in Liverpool, Till was involved in an altercation at a nightclub. In the melee, Till was stabbed twice in the back. Fortunately for Till, the blade narrowly missed an artery. The attack did cause Till to change the course of his career, opting to move to Brazil to continue his training under former coach Marcelo Brigadeiro in Santa Catarina.
Yes, the defeat will have hurt Till, but he has risen above far worse in the past. The biggest question surrounding Till is what weight will he fight at in the future? He has struggled on many occasions to make the weight for his welterweight fights, so it may just be the case he moves back to the middleweight division.
If he opts to remain in the welterweight division, then there are plenty of fighters at his disposal. If he is serious about once again challenging for the Welterweight Championship, Kamaru Usman and interim champion Colby Covington would be good places to start, given their wrestling and grappling background, which are similar to Woodley’s style.
Who do you think Till will face next? Do you think he’ll stay in the welterweight division or will he move back to middleweight? Let us know.