Darren Till will face the toughest test of his MMA career when he steps into the Octagon to fight Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 228 on Oct. 6 in Houston, but as much of a challenge as he sees in Woodley, there might be an even bigger opponent standing in his way before the fight.
The giant UFC welterweight has had well-documented struggles with making the 170-pound limit during his tenure in the division. He has missed weight on two occasions: when he was 6 pounds overweight for his 2017 fight with Jessin Ayari and when he came in at 174 pounds against Steven Thompson in his last fight.
A video of the latter weight cut circulated around the internet and became a huge cause for concern. Till could be seen struggling to stand up in a sauna, and at one point he told his coaches that he could no longer see, which forced his team to halt the process.
Although Till vows to make weight for his first crack at a world title, it doesn’t seem as though the process is getting easier for the 25-year-old fighter from Liverpool, England.
“It’s s—,” Till told a group of reporters at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, where Till will complete his training. “I hate cutting weight, I hate making weight, I hate dieting. I’m going to make weight and I can’t wait so I can [put up my middle fingers] when I step on the scales. I’m in that moment now where I just, I don’t want to train anymore, I don’t want to eat good anymore. I just wish I had a hamburger in front of me, but it’s all sacrifices and I made a mistake last time. I just can’t wait to say ‘F— you’ to everyone who just keeps babbling on about weight and, ‘He didn’t make weight, f— Till.’ F— them.”
Till admitted that this particular camp has been tough because of the weight cut and media obligations, but it won’t stop him from completing the task at hand.
“I’m just focused on making 170 and going in and absolutely f—ing destroying Tyron Woodley,” he said. “I’m not focused on what she says or what he says. I don’t really care.”
With weight cuts being so brutal to Till’s body, Till admits that the end is near for him as a welterweight.
“I hate cutting weight. Only a few more fights here and that’s it,” he said.
Till said that he sees himself making a title defense or two before moving up to middleweight; however, unlike other fighters, Till doesn’t believe he should be granted an immediate title shot and prefers to work his way up the ladder. He’s a firm believer in earning opportunities.
“I see a lot of guys who chase the ‘money’ fight,” he said. “I’m going to take that belt and then I want to go up in weight, but that doesn’t mean that I want to go up to middleweight and challenge the champion. I would like to earn my stripes in that division. There are a lot of good guys there.”
Till invites anybody in the 185-pound class to try to block his path to greatness.
“In life, I believe that no matter what you do, you have to earn your stripes,” he said. “If the UFC offered me a title fight, I’m not going to say no. But I am saying I’d like to earn my stripes and face the top five or the top 10. When I go up to middleweight I’m not (going to be) focused on the belt because, as I say, I know I’m the best and I know I’m going to win that belt as well.”