A win over Stephen Thompson would be gigantic for any fighter in the welterweight division. Darren Till, though, does not think it should propel him to a title shot.
Till beat “Wonderboy” by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) in the main event of UFC Liverpool — Till’s hometown — on Sunday night. According to Till, the circumstances do not lead him to believe he earned a title shot with that victory, regardless of Thompson’s No. 1 rank among contenders in the weight class. Till missed weight by 3-1/2 pounds Saturday and he said he’s “embarrassed” by it.
“I couldn’t care less, mate,” Till said. “I think Stephen deserves — I’d go with the interim — more than I do myself. I just beat him in a close fight, but give it to Stephen. He made weight and he’s still No. 1, he’s beat more guys than me. So, give it to him.”
Till believes Till should face the winner of the interim welterweight title fight coming up at UFC 225 in two weeks between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington. Tyron Woodley, who is 1-0-1 against Thompson, is the current welterweight titleholder and he’s targeting a summer return after shoulder surgery.
“I missed weight,” Till said. “I don’t feel I deserve a title shot anyway. I missed weight, so there you go right away. I don’t deserve the next shot at the title. I still feel that Stephen probably deserves it, maybe.”
The result of the content Sunday is being highly questioned. Many felt Thompson did enough to win a decision in the razor-close fight. That is not why Till thinks Thompson should get the title shot over him. Till firmly believes he won, because he didn’t play into a style beneficial to Thompson — he wasn’t overaggressive.
“Through the rounds, I could see him thinking, why isn’t this little bastard running at me?” Till said. “And I had it all figured out. As much as it me trying to figure him out and him trying to figure me out, it was crazy. It was Muay Thai versus karate.”
It was not the most action-packed fight, but Till believes his strategy of feinting and not blitzing often led him to victory. And he absolutely believes he should have gotten the nod. Till said he was proud of himself as a 25-year-old against the wily Thompson, who is 10 years his senior, that he was able to execute a wise game plan.
“Stephen is so intelligent,” Till said. “And tonight I outsmarted him. I did.”
UFC president Dana White said Till will likely fight in Las Vegas next. The UFC obviously thinks the undefeated, brash Till has star potential. But “The Vanilla Gorilla” wants to remain in the United Kingdom. He wants to bring a stadium show to Anfield in Liverpool, where Liverpool FC plays its soccer games.
“Why can’t I be the guy to bring the UFC to an area, stadium right here in England?” Till said. “Right here in Liverpool. Who’s telling me I can’t? No matter who you are, I’ll tell you, ‘f*ck you.’”