This time last year, Darren Till would soon be booked for a fight with now former welterweight champ, Tyron Woodley. But fast forward to now, and many are claiming the UFC moved Till up the 170 chain too quickly. Interestingly enough, Dana White is one of those folks.
Till generated massive buzz back in 2017, by going 3-0 that year and by closing out his campaign with a quick, jaw-dropping stoppage of Donald Cerrone. As a result, the Liverpool star was booked to fight longtime contender Stephen Thompson in March, 2018. Till won that fight, and when Colby Covington couldn’t commit to a September showdown with Woodley, Till got the call.
As you likely know, Till was dominated by Woodley at UFC 228 and lost via submission. At the time, there was some talk that maybe Till had been tapped to fast for a title shot. But, since Till was brutally KO’d by Jorge Masvidal this past month, the ‘pushed too fast’ argument has been vocalized by many more.
“I think Till went back to the drawing board,” White said. “He’s a young guy. After the win over (Donald Cerrone), we may have pushed him too soon. It happens sometimes when a guy gets that much steam behind him. Pump the breaks a little here. Let him get back and work on the things he needs to work on. He’s going to be around.”
“You come in and beat a guy like ‘Cowboy,’ and boom, you immediately get bounced right up into the middle of the rankings,” White said. “(For) some people it’s the perfect time and (for) some people (it’s) a little soon. That weight division is nasty. It’s like murderers row in that top eight.”
Before Till was tapped for a title shot, he was 17-0-1, held a 5-0-1 record in the Octagon, and was coming off wins over Cerrone and Thompson. Till’s striking was receiving heaps of praise, and one of the biggest questions tied to him was whether he could make 170 consistently. So, there weren’t many objections to Till getting a title shot, aside from those who believed the UFC should wait for Covington. (many at the time also noted the UFC was in desperate need of a main event for the pay-per-view card).
In hindsight, however, things look different. While there’s no reason to write Till off as a top welterweight at this juncture, the UFC is wise to ease the foot on the promotional gas pedal.