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The End of the Road? Darren Till’s Future

At one time, Darren Till was one of the hottest UFC prospects.  He had a meteoric rise to the top of the 170 pound division.  After beating the likes of Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson, he seemed ready to seize the title.  However, then champion Tyron Woodley stopped him in his tracks.  Since then, it has been all but downhill for the former title challenger.

Image – Essentially Sports

Till returned to face Jorge Masvidal, who himself had just come off of a long period of inactivity.  Despite a strong start to the fight, Masvidal adjusted and stunned the crowd, knocking Till out cold in round 2.   This loss marked Till’s last fight at 170 pounds, as the heavy weight cut had always given him trouble.

Till’s move to middleweight started off well.  He faced Kelvin Gastelum, who was fresh off the legendary war against Israel Adesanya.  Till managed to win the fight via split decision.  The win set him up for a showdown against the former champion, Robert Whittaker.  Till had his moments in the fight, but ultimately lost the decision.  Still, he seemed to be heading in the right direction.

Image – The Mirror

However, over the last couple years, things have taken a turn for the worse.  Till next faced Derek Brunson, and to everyone’s surprise Brunson handled him fairly decisively.  He repeatedly took Till down and battered him with ground and pound.  When Till finally started to find momentum on the feet, Brunson scored another takedown and a quick submission.  A one-sided loss to an opponent who himself was not championship caliber was the last thing Till needed.

Following the loss, Till made waves on social media by training with rising star Khamzat Chimaev.  Fans hoped that the partnership would allow Till to improve his wrestling defense, given Khamzat’s notorious grappling prowess.  Till finally had the opportunity to show off the results at UFC 282 against Dricus Du Plessis.  Unfortunately, the result was eerily similar to the Brunson fight.  While Till had his moments in round 2, Du Plessis scored numerous takedowns before eventually submitting Till.  

The most recent losses in and of themselves are not unfathomable.  However, the manner in which Till lost to Brunson and Du Plessis especially should have fans worried.  Despite being visibly exhausted, Dricus was able to take Till down at will.  Till notably injured his knee in the Robert Whittaker fight, and has looked noticeably worse ever since then.  With his most recent performance, the title now seems highly unrealistic for Till.  It remains to be seen what career decisions he will make to try and return to his winning ways.

Image – ESPN

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