As an undefeated welterweight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster, Darren Till finds himself on the verge of stardom. His rousing stoppage of Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 118 put him on the map and has the confident Englishman on the hunt for bigger prey, including Rafael dos Anjos. As “The Gorilla” moves closer and closer to a potential title shot inside the Octagon, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He butters his bread with muay Thai.
Till started his muay Thai training at the age of 12 and turned professional three years later. He claims a kickboxing record of 44-0 with 33 knockouts. Till also holds the rank of purple belt in Luta Livre, a Brazilian martial art that mixes catch wrestling, judo and striking with the hands, feet, knees and elbows.
2. He turns defense into offense.
FightMetric statistics speak to Till’s defensive abilities. In compiling 4-0-1 record in the UFC, he has successfully defended 82 percent of the takedowns and 62 percent of the significant strikes attempted against him. Meanwhile, Till has landed 52 percent of his significant strikes and connects with 3.18 significant strikes per minute.
3. An incident outside the cage altered the trajectory of his career.
Till was once involved in a stabbing incident that left him with two scars on his back. According to the 25-year-old muay Thai stylist, he fought “multiple bouncers and patrons” at a club during a party in August 2012. Sensing that life in Liverpool, England, was detrimental to his development, Till’s coach advised him to move to Brazil to continue his training. He wound up staying in the South American country for three and a half years despite initial plans for a six-month stay.
4. He sees the benefits of patience.
Despite an overall record of 16-0-1, Till is in no hurry to secure a UFC title shot. He indicated in an interview that there are “so many guys in front of me [and] they need the shot first.” Even so, Till considers himself a contender at 170 pounds and plans to be ready to “ask for a title shot when I take the No. 2 guy out.”
5. Lofty goals motivate him.
Till once talked about conquering three weight classes: welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight. He concedes he is large for his current weight class -- a reality he could exploit and use to his advantage until it becomes a deterrent. On the other hand, he figures to gain more muscle mass as he ages and foresees a move to 185 pounds and eventually 205 pounds. Those potential pursuits, along with his charisma and devastating offensive skills, have allowed Till to draw comparisons to Conor McGregor.