Darren “The Gorilla” Till Going Ape Over UFC 228 Title Opportunity

Kevin Hageland
September 05, 2018 - 6:00 pm
Darren Till

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports


The first word when describing someone from Liverpool, England isn’t usually Cowboy.

But it is that very word which catapulted Darren “The Gorilla” Till into the consciousness of many UFC fans and it could once again be a word that wins over fans at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night if Till defeats UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley to raise the 170-pound title in the main event of UFC 228.

Till (17-0-1) was undefeated in his first four UFC fights (3-0-1), but it was a first-round stoppage victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 2017 that really made UFC fans, and perhaps promoters, take note.

After defeating Stephen Thompson via decision in a title eliminator in May, Till finds himself fighting for the world title against Woodley, who has ruled over the welterweight division the past two years after knocking out Robbie Lawler. And that is where the word Cowboy jumps back into the discussion as I suggested to Till he should throw on a Cowboy hat (either of the Stetson or football team variety) to ingratiate himself to the Metroplex crowd if he takes the belt Saturday night.

“I just might do that now,” Till said with a chuckle.

Cowboy-based celebrations aside, Till isn’t really changing his preparations going into UFC 228 despite the stakes.

“It’s just another day,” Till said. “I think Saturday is gonna be one of those good memories, but for now – it’s just another day.”

That low-key attitude might surprise some, but Till (who became a pro MMA fighter in 2013 and joined the UFC in 2015) also carries an undeterred level of confidence, saying he felt it was only a matter of time before he found himself in a position to fight for the championship. Till’s title tilt is likely to go off about 11:15pm Saturday at the AAC as the main event of a card that starts with the prelims at 5pm and continues on FX at 7pm with the main card then beginning on pay-per-view at 9pm. The show’s co-headliner will feature Valentina Shevchenko challenging Nicco Montano for the UFC Women’s Flyweight (125 pounds) Championship. Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com.

This is the UFC’s fifth trip to Dallas for a PPV (UFC 103, 171, 185, 211), but will serve as the first fight in the states for Till, who arrived in the Metroplex Tuesday evening. Woodley, however, has won at the AAC before as he defeated Carlos Condit at UFC 171 when Condit was injured in a bout Woodley controlled.

That card featured Fort Worth resident Johny Hendricks in the main event winning the very same welterweight strap Woodley now holds.

UFC title bouts in Dallas have been across the board since then with Anthony Pettis and Carla Esparza losing their championships at UFC 185 while Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jędrzejczyk both retained at UFC 211.

Bettors are at an impasse when it comes to Till vs. Woodley as the fight is essentially a pick-em. That has led many to predict a decision in the UFC 228 main event Saturday, but don’t dismiss the quick finish as Woodley has racked up six knockouts and five submissions with nine first-round stoppages in his career while Till has 10 KOs and two submissions with five first-round finishes in his undefeated march to the No. 1 contender slot.

“I think, you sort of realize, as much as you’ve been training hard and working hard and putting everything into it, you’ve got of sorta double down now and really go for it now,” Till said. “It’s do or die and you gotta take that shot and put everything into it and really capitalize on such an opportunity being given to ya. As soon as I got [the title shot>, I was happy – but I knew what I needed to do to bring it home.”

To hear more from Till about the challenges Woodley presents, fighting for the title, having a Christmas Eve birthday and “The Great British Baking Show,” click the link and listen to the entire interview … it’s right there!