Darren Till believes he's 'holding all the chips' at middleweight

Elias Cepeda
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Darren Till has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC 244 event at Madison Square Garden on November 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Former welterweight title challenger Darren Till (18-2) has lost two out of his last three bouts and is brand new to the middleweight division but that hasn’t stopped him from declaring himself the new king at 185lbs. To be fair, the Brit may understandably be defensive after several middleweights, including former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Jared Cannonier, have shown interest in facing him.

“Forget the champion: it’s me,” Till recently told BT Sports. “They all know what they want. Maybe they’re all seeing it as easy money — not a chance. Not a chance, mate.”

Till moved up to middleweight earlier this month at UFC 244, facing and earning a split-decision win over fellow former welterweight Kelvin Gastelum. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Till, who was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in March and submitted by then welterweight world champion Tyron Woodley in September of 2018 prior to beating Gastelum.

Till is clearly riding high off of the latest win, and feeling like the old self which had gone without a loss for the first five years of his professional career. Still, Till fears the short memories of fans.

“The people forget the fighter I was before I got knocked out,” Till said.

“Forget the Woodley fight. People forget the fighter I was, what I done to the best striker in the UFC, Stephen Thompson, where I calm and calculatedly beat him, nearly knocked him out. Look at the performance he’s just had, or before that, or before that all the European stars I was just taking out, or before that when I was in Brazil just taking names, or even before that.”

In the end, Till believes that being called out shows that he’s the man at middleweight, the division Israel Adesanya sits atop as champion. “Now they’re all just calling me out. I’m the money man in the division,” he reasoned.

Being in-demand as an opponent puts Till in command of which matchups should happen, and when, according to the fighter. “I’ll pick,” he concluded.

“I’ll just see who I want to fight because they’re all calling me out for a reason, so obviously I’m holding all the chips.”

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