After a shaky 18 months, Darren Till has a chance to establish himself as a hot property not only in the UFC, but the UK too.
Now 27, Till faces former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at Fight Island this Saturday night – live on talkSPORT 2 – where the winner will more than likely have the next shot at the title, currently held by Israel Adesanya.
Darren Till and Robert Whittaker go head-to-head on UFC Fight Island this weekend
Just 18 months ago, Till was on a rapid ascension in UFC and had a shot at the welterweight title.
He would lose that encounter and then he’d suffer a devastating knockout on home soli at UFC London at the hands of Jorge Masvidal.
That was the launching pad for Masvidal to go on and become UFC’s superstar in lieu of Conor McGregor, but Till had to press reset and a move up to middleweight was the route he decided to go.
Jorge Masvidal knocked out Darren Till in London in 2019
The Liverpudlian debuted at 185lbs against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 and was back at his fantastic best as he picked up the unanimous decision win.
Another man who has had his ups and downs – and a man Till has trained with – is Tyson Fury.
Till says Fury’s journey is a source of inspiration to him and he strives to be a household name like the Gypsy King.
“Definitely not,” Till said when asked if much was stopping him becoming as big as Fury.
“Look at the lows and look at the highs that Tyson had. He probably had one of the worst lows in the past few years that anyone has ever had. I’ve never suffered from anything mentally like that.
“We all have our demons inside us, but I’ve never really suffered like that so for what he’s done, what he’s come back from, what he’s achieved and what he’s doing right now is incredible and that inspires me a little bit.
“Obviously I look up to him and my name being mentioned with his name in the future ‘they’re both doing this, they’re both doing great things,’ household names as you say, it’s what it’s all about,” Till told BT Sport.
Till could become only the second Englishman to win world title in UFC after Michael Bisping and he’s yet to reach his prime.
There is no doubt he has the potential to become the UK’s most influential MMA artist in modern memory.
UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Till is live on talkSPORT 2 from midnight on Sunday 26 July