The number of fans calling for Darren Till (17-1-1) to move up to 185lbs have been steadily increasing for some time now and it would appear that their wish has finally been granted.
It’s no secret that the popular Scouser has endured some extremely tough weight cuts to hit the welterweight limit, something which was made alarmingly apparent after his sponsors, Paddy Power, released a behind the scenes video of his gruelling cut prior to facing Stephen Thompson last May.
Speaking yesterday via a blog post for Paddy Power, Till explained that for now at least, he was turning his back on the welterweight division and is headed up to middleweight.
“I’m a big dude for welterweight to be honest, so that’s probably going to be my last fight at that weight,” Till said. “Welterweight isn’t fully gone for me, but I’m going to be happy going up to middleweight now and I’ll be strong at that weight not having to cut as much weight. I’m at the pinnacle of my fighting career now, I’m one of the biggest names in MMA right now. I’m fighting the best and I am one of the best.”
While Till expects to compete at 185lbs for the immediate future, he was eager to stress that this doesn’t mean he’s done with welterweight forever. The 25-year-old acknowledged that he has plenty of years left in the fight game and the move is motivated by his dislike for cutting to 170lbs rather than him not being able to make the cut.
“I’ll have a few fights at middleweight and you never know, down the line if Woodley is still about then I can have another go at him, that’s a rematch I want,” Till added. “The future’s bright, I’ve got another 10 years in this sport. It’s not that I can’t make the weight. I’m just a big lad so I just have to be on such a strict, regimented diet and being honest, I don’t like doing it.”
Till made it clear that he believes fighting at middleweight will leave him healthier, stronger and ultimately happier than having to deal with cutting the extra 15lbs down to welterweight, a combination which has him excited to make the step up a division.
“People might say ‘he’s not disciplined enough’, but because I have to cut so much weight I can only eat the bare minimum of food and that’s not how I want to be training. I want to be eating nice, healthy, big meals and training hard, smashing my training. The move up will help me keep my head more relaxed over the weight cut and I’ll be training more with a smile on my face, so I’m looking forward to going to middleweight.”
Considering the nature of his defeat to Tyron Woodley and the status of the fight cards for the rest of 2018, it would seem unlikely that we will see Till return to the octagon this side of the new year. When he does return, he still has a major career milestone at the forefront of his mind – bringing a UFC event to the home of Liverpool Football Club.
“Hearing the news about Anfield is open for fight nights is the dream for me – that’s what I want,” Till added. “I believe I had a part to play in helping push this through, so I’m going to take a bit of credit for that. I’m in this game to make history and that would be a career making moment for me. One million percent, I want to fight at Anfield.”