Darren Till wanted to go back to the drawing board, and he knew the perfect person to help him with that.
Till, a former UFC welterweight title challenger, has struggled since moving up to 185 pounds. After edging out Kelvin Gastelum, Till dropped two straight to Robert Whittaker, and most recently a submission loss to Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 191 last September.
Following the loss, Till (18-4-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) sought out a change in environment and headed to Stockholm to train with one of the biggest rising stars, dominant contender Khamzat Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
“I just got the feeling that he’s the type of guy like me,” Till told ESPN. “No bullsh*t. He’s just a guy who trains hard and is a little bit crazy. I wanted to put myself back in the beginner seat. I remember when I first walked into Team Kaobon and I was a beginner, I wanted to put myself back into that seat. … I walked through the doors about a week-and-a-half ago with my tail between my legs, and I’m loving every single second of my life right now.”
Although his confidence hasn’t completely wavered, Till admits the loss to Brunson was a tough pill to swallow. So in order to regain that self-belief, he surrounded himself with Chimaev, who has already issued warnings to both UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.
“After that Derek fight, I was looking at myself in the mirror, and it wasn’t me, It wasn’t Darren Till,” Till said. “I was looking at my shape. I just couldn’t identify myself, and that’s why it hurt so much.”
He continued, “He (Chimaev) fully believes he’s going to smash every guy and make money, and you need to be around that sh*t. Trust me because it’s infectious, especially to a guy like me, who believes that, as well.”
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Author: Farah Hannoun