Darren Till hit another speed bump on his road to trying to win his first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title after coming up short against former Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, at UFC on ESPN 14 a few weeks ago. Despite the setback, Till is still that he will one day reach his UFC championship dreams, telling ESPN's Ariel Helwani that he won't retire until he has gold around his waist.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of how long it takes,” Till said. “I don’t know, I have no goal. I think when the time’s ready – I know what I was put on this earth for, no one can convince me otherwise. I was put on this earth to be a champion in the UFC and be a future GOAT, so when it happens, it’s going to happen. Until then, I’m just going to enjoy my last few days here (Dubai), and then I’m going to look forward to my next fight.
“I just want to fight, I just want to be the best,” he continued. “I can’t do anything else. I will not be able to retire if I don’t become one of the best.… I have to do it, I’ve got to do it, and I’m so determined and convinced. I’m going to train harder, and I’m going to be more vicious and violent as ever.”
For Till, seeing the praise UFC Lightweight kingpin, Khabib Nurmagomedov, gets for being the dominant champion he is motivates him to be just that. And while going undefeated like “The Eagle” is no longer in the cards, being a UFC title holder is. And so is being the greatest of all time, which is what he is striving to do.
“He (Whittaker) was the former champ,” he said. “A few more fights, and I am going to be the champion. I want that. I see all these – when you’re doing your chats with (Daniel Cormier) and he’s calling Khabib (Nurmagomedov) the G.O.A.T., I love seeing that because it makes me thrive to one day have my name mentioned like that.
“People could watch this now and be like, ‘Yeah, whatever Till,’ and people will be like, ‘Yeah, Till’s definitely going to be a GOAT,’ but it’s just what I set out to do,” he continued. “Step-by-step, I’m proving it, and I’m a high-level fighter. I’m a high-level striker in MMA.”
Till came up short in his first and only UFC title fight to date against former division king, Tyron Woodley, and would've been in line for a title eliminator with a win over Whittaker. For now, “Gorilla” has a different kind of battle on his hands, a rehab process that he will have to go through after tearing his MCL early in his fight against Whittaker.