Darren Till targeting huge fight

MTK Global-backed Darren Till is targeting a ‘huge’ fight after topping the official UFC fans’ poll as Breakthrough Fighter of the Year for 2017

Darren Till has insisted that 2018 will be even bigger and better than 2017 after MMA’s hottest prospect was named Breakthrough Fighter of the Year following an official UFC fans’ poll.

MTK Global-backed Till has emerged as the rising star of the UFC after a phenomenal 12 months, which culminated in a one-round destruction of veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone last October.

The 25-year-old Liverpudlian, who recently became the first British Mixed Martial Artist to sign a management contract with MTK Global, is now widely considered to be one of the leading contenders in the UFC’s welterweight division and looks primed for a world-title shot later this year.

“It’s a great honour to be honest,” said Till on being named the UFC’s Breakthrough Fighter of the Year for 2017. “My name is all over the world now – it’s great recognition and this is extra special since it’s the fans that voted for it.

“It’s really taken off in the past few months. I was off for the whole of 2016 [with injury], but obviously I came back last year and I had two good wins before I took Cerrone out in the first round. People are starting to think I’m the next big thing in MMA and they’re not wrong!”

Already back in the gym with coach Colin Heron and Team Kaobon, the former K-1 European champion is already preparing for a busy few months as MTK Global work on boosting the career of MMA’s most promising talent.

“I’m buzzing. I’m happy with my team at Kaobon and obviously the MTK team, I feel like they’re a big loyal family and that’s what I’m about myself. I’m buzzing to work with them,” said Till.

“I took a few weeks off around Christmas to chill, ate lots of food and did a bit of partying, but I’ve started back training now and this is going to be another year of hard work.

“I’ll be champion by the end of the year. Last year was great, but 2018 is going to be huge. We’ve already got something big in the pipeline!

“2018 is going to be the year of the first Scouse champion, I can feel it! I just know it’s going to be my year.”

‘The Gorilla’ has been linked to a number of top names at 170lbs, with the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Kamaru Usman among his potential opponents while a world-title date against Tyron Woodley remains the Liverpudlian’s ultimate target.

But with an anticipated bout against Florida-based Mike Perry now looking unlikely, Till fancies an even bigger clash against the UFC’s No 1 welterweight contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson if the fight can be made.

“I fancy that fight. He’s the No 1 contender so if I beat him then that’s an automatic title shot and by the end of the year I’ll be champion, so we’ll see what happens,” said Till.

“I don’t know what happened with Perry. He’s booked another fight, so he’s missed his chance because I’d said I’d still fight him even though he lost. I’m the biggest name in the welterweight division now, so I can just sit back and choose who I fight.”