With a disappointing performance on Saturday now behind him, here are five possible future opponents for Darren Till.
Much like Till, Kevin Holland flew out of the gates after making his UFC debut but has since stalled and is looking to rejuvenate his career at 185lbs.
Also similarly to the Englishman, Holland’s hype train was derailed when he faced off against Derek Brunson, with Brunson’s relentless wrestling offence proving similarly difficult for the American to handle inside the Octagon.
A bout between Holland and Till would provide both fighters with the opportunity to contest the fight at their preferred striking distance, with the very little threat of takedowns coming from either fighter almost guaranteeing a stand-up fight. To make things even better, both Holland and Till are not afraid to speak their mind both inside and outside of the cage so fans could expect trash talk aplenty.
With both fighters having considerable fan bases, this bout would be a perfect headliner for the UFC’s long-awaited return to the UK should Holland defeat Kyle Daukaus when they fight on October 2nd.
Given that he is one of the most reliable performers in the UFC’s middleweight division, a fight against Gerald Meerschaert would be a great test to see exactly where Till stands at 185lbs after his back to back losses.
Though he may be best known for the devastating knockout loss he suffered to Khamzat Chimaev in September of last year, Meershaert has long established himself as a dependable if not spectacular talent and rebounded with solid wins over Bartosz Fabinski and Makhmud Muradov and finds himself on the cusp of the UFC rankings.
Sure, Meerschaert doesn’t exactly have the same name power in the eyes of the general MMA audience as Till’s recent UFC opposition but he has earned the right to face a ranked opponent and with the current trajectory of their respective careers Till might just be that man.
Since debuting in the UFC back in 2016, GM3 has made a habit out of pulling off upsets inside the Octagon, and while Till’s recent form might make both fighters evenly matched in the eyes of the oddsmakers, a win would be just what Till needs to begin a more measured and gradual ascent up the UFC’s middleweight rankings.
A mainstay of the UFC’s 185lb division, while Uriah Hall hasn’t quite lived up to the Anderson Silva/Jon Jones comparisons that so many were quick to adorn him with during his time on The Ultimate Fighter, he has established himself as a solid fighter with the ability to pull off some absolutely incredible performances under the right circumstances.
Hall recently had a UFC-best streak of four consecutive wins, including a KO victory over the legendary Anderson Silva, snapped with a unanimous decision loss to Sean Strickland in August and does not currently have another opponent booked.
With 13 knockouts from 17 career wins it is clear that Hall possesses spectacular single-strike power, but more technical strikers such as Robert Whittaker and Gegard Mousasi have found success against him in the past, providing a game plan for Till to follow should they be matched up in the future.
When it comes to finding a big-name opponent that possesses has the wrestling skills to test Till’s defence there are few more qualified candidates than former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman.
In Weidman’s most recent Octagon outing, he suffered a horrific leg break in a rematch against fellow list entrant Uriah Hall back at UFC 261, and while he is still not back to training the bout would make a perfect UFC Fight Night headliner in the future depending on how quickly Till is looking to make his UFC return.
While Weidman hasn’t looked the same fighter as he did during his run of dominance in the early 2010s, the All-American still possesses a very real wrestling threat that would allow Till to battle test his defensive grappling skills against an opponent that hasn’t shown as much finishing instinct on the ground in recent years.
Despite his decline in recent years, Weidman is still a crafty fighter both on the mats and on the feet, and a win over him would arguably be Till’s most significant should he be able to pull off a victory against the former UFC champion.
Another former UFC champion looking to re-establish himself in the middleweight division, Luke Rockhold, is set to make his return to 185 for the first time in over three years as he prepares to take on Sean Strickland at UFC 268 in November.
Rockhold’s return to the division that he once reigned over comes after he had a brief stint at light heavyweight where he was given the unenviable task of facing off against the then surging contender, now champion, Jan Blachowicz losing by way of second-round knockout.
Should Rockhold be successful in his UFC return later this year, a bout with Till would likely be a fight that both men would be looking for. After all, Rockhold has a predilection for contesting the fight at the standing range on the feet but has earned a reputation for having a suspect chin that Till may well be able to take advantage of with his lightning-fast left hand.
Should Till be able to get his hand raised in this hypothetical matchup it would also serve as the Gorilla’s first victory against a former UFC champion, and could start the momentum of the Englishman’s hype train once more.
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