Darren Till is planning to use his first loss to propel the next chapter of his career.
The 25-year-old Englishman failed in his bid to dethrone welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, losing by second-round submission in the main event of UFC 228 on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. It was Till’s first taste of defeat after starting his career 17-0-1.
Till had become a trendy pick to knock off Woodley, given his impressive size and skills, and a personality to match, but he was rendered mostly ineffective by “The Chosen One” before being knocked down and forced to tap out to a D’Arce choke. He addressed the media afterwards at the post-fight press conference, vowing that the loss would not prevent him from someday achieving legendary status.
“It just hurts because I got there, I was nearly there to do what I set out to do, get that belt and be the greatest,” Till said. “I am still gonna be the greatest, I know that. I just spoke to Woodley backstage and he’s lost. Jon Jones has lost. Georges St-Pierre has lost.
“All the greats have lost. That’s my first loss tonight and just right now I’m still okay, but I’m just upset. There’s no sugarcoating it.”
Reflecting on what might have gone wrong, Till thinks that he may have been over-confident, that he failed to prepare properly backstage before the fight, and that he may need to work on developing some sort of regular ritual to make sure he’s in the proper mindset for his future matches.
One thing he wouldn’t commit to is a move up to 185 pounds. Much was made of Till possibly changing weight divisions after he missed weight for his previous bout with Stephen Thompson, the second time he’d made that mistake in the UFC. But he made it clear that he had no issue with the cut down to 170 pounds this time around and would consult his coaches before making any decisions on that front.
Of more immediate concern is the upcoming birth of his second child, and after that he doesn’t know what’s next as far as when or who he will fight next. He plans to drew upon his past adversities, including the losses he’d suffered in his kickboxing days, to provide some much-needed perspective.
“A loss has to come to everyone I believe, no matter what you do,” Till said. “There is certain people that do get away with that, Floyd Mayweather some other guys that get away without that loss. I’ve lost very few times in my life, you didn’t know me before MMA. I lost three times, I actually lost for a world title in Canada and that was just horrible for me. It’s one of them things, I’ll face it head on. It’s all ups since I made my comeback next year, you’ve got to remember I only came back last year after an 18-month layoff. Fought in Sweden, Rotterdam, Poland, and then I fought in Liverpool, and now Texas. It’s been a ride for me. The losses came tonight.
“Listen, there will probably be another loss. But as I say, I am still going to be the greatest fighter of all time, I know I am. This doesn’t change anything. It’s just I can’t lie to you right now. I’m upset, I’m broken. I’m hurt tonight, I’m a hurt person.”