Darren Till is in that moment now. The same moment that Conor McGregor found himself in 4.5 years ago after his debut win against Marcus Brimmage. The spotlight of the UFC Welterweight division is on Till now.
The UFC look like they are moving one of their Orlando events to Liverpool in February 2018. This, as we all know, is because of Darren Till. He wants to fight there and no doubt this is a great move for the fighter and a great business move for the UFC. Liverpool is a working class city and Till is one of their own working class boys. The event will sell out in minutes. Although it won’t be a PPV event it is likely to be one of the Highlight events of 2018 for the UFC. Liverpool/ Manchester has a catchment area of about 4-5 million people, they’ll go nuts for it.
There have been all sorts of names bandied about in relation to Darren Till’s next opponent. Mike Perry and Wonder boy Thompson are the two most popular being mentioned. However I don’t think Mike Perry will offer much resistance and I’d be careful about jumping straight in against Wonderboy. I think the match up that makes most sense is the one he has semi- arranged himself against Gunnar Nelson.
In the UK and Ireland Gunnar Nelson is one of the most respected martial arts there is in the game. His last defeat at UFC Glasgow can be explained to a degree by a number of eye pokes he received prior to the finish. He admits himself he made a mistake in not drawing the attention of the referee to it in the ring so that the fight could be paused. He paid dearly for the error. As a result Nelson now needs a big fight to get him back to where he was before Glasgow.
Nelson’s UFC record is a bit of a patchwork, he’s had a number of impressive wins but his momentum has been halted on occasion by nights like his last one. He is a legit black belt in Jiu-jitsu and a fight with Darren Till would represent a fascinating clash of styles.
Till has the same advantages that Conor McGregor had when he enter the Featherweight division. He is very big for the weight category. In fact he admitted on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani he got in the ring against Cowboy Cerrone at about 200lbs! That’s a near 30lb increase during the re-hydration process.
In terms of brute strength there is no-one to touch him in the Welterweight class – bar Woodley. I don’t think he should be in any rush to fight for a title though. Gain some experience by hoovering up a few guys in the top 15 first and make some money. The kid is still only 24.
In fact it would do no harm to take a long hard look at the career of Michael Bisping especially on how he operates on the business side of things.
Many people are quite shocked that he is taking on another fight so soon after the GSP defeat. Once Anderson Silva got flagged on a possible violation Bisping saw the opportunity and pounced on it. He is basically knocking two fights out of one fight camp. But most importantly it’s another big payday 3 weeks after his biggest. It smells a lot to me like his retirement fund to me. I predict Bisping to win and retire on the same night. As he didn’t take a huge amount of physical damage on the night I think the risk is worth it.
Darren Till can look at Michael Bisping’s career as one to be referenced for himself, especially the latter end of it. The Count Bisping might play the bad guy for the fight hype but he is more grounded and family –oriented than many who proclaim it from the roof-tops and he makes good decisions with both his short and medium term strategies.
I think if Michael Bisping was in Darren Till’s shoes facing his many options he might just choose Gunnar Nelson next. Decent Money….Decent Fight….Probable Win.