Darren Till may not have defeated UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley earlier this month at UFC 228, but the young contender still has a very bright future in the organization.
But where exactly should that future take place?
While Till is a proven title hunter at 170 pounds, the weight cut has not been kind to him. Blessed with a bigger frame better suited for the middleweight division, “Gorilla” has struggled to get his body down to welterweight standards. He did surprisingly come in at 169 pounds for his title fight opposite Woodley, but missed weight by 3.5 pounds for his main event clash with Stephen Thompson at UFC Liverpool back in May.
Till also weighed in at 176 pounds for his third Octagon appearance against Jessin Ayari back in 2017.
Despite his storied troubles with the cut down to welterweight, Till’s nutritionist, Eoghan Gallagher, believes the 25-year-old Englishman can continue to do it for years to come.
“[The weight cut] did go extremely well in the end. I was very confident [he would make weight] and I think he can make 170 with ease for years to come, it’s just all about what his preference is moving forward,” Gallagher told MMAFighting’s Peter Caroll.
Even though Till would most likely succeed at the middleweight level, he’s an absolute headache at 170 pounds. His big body, strong frame, and precise striking skills is good enough to defeat any top contender on any given night. Remember, many people were picking Till to defeat Woodley at UFC 228.
“Ideally, what I’d like to do moving forward is spend six to eight weeks with him in Liverpool in a much longer camp than this one, obviously this was a short-notice fight,” Gallagher said of Till’s UFC 228 camp. “I’d look to get the weight down earlier, get him a bit slimmer — a little bit less aggressive than I had to do it this time. I’d get the weight down slowly, making the cut in the end extremely easy.”
“This cut was super easy,” he continued. “The actual water cut itself did not take a significant amount of time. When he jumped on the scales and we saw 170, his teammate Mike Grundy and I were there, we were all together and it was a really emotional moment for us.
“We just hugged it out and we were like, ‘Wow’. Absolutely, Darren can make 170 with ease with the systems that we have in place.”
If that system is a prolonged solution to Till’s difficult cut down to 170 pounds then there is no reason for “Gorilla” to move up in weight. His loss to Woodley earlier this month was the first of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career and not enough to completely wipe Till out of contention entering 2019.
However, that doesn’t mean UFC won’t push him up a division at the first sign of trouble. With so many fighters failing weight cuts before monster fights, the promotion can’t afford to play with fire anymore.