Darren Till has questioned the fighting styles of top-ranked UFC fighters Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway, claiming the “wars” they go through take a huge toll on them.
The middleweight contender returns to action this weekend at UFC on ESPN 14 where he faces Robert Whittaker in the main event. Whittaker has not fought since losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 in Melbourne.
Since then, questions have been raised over Whittaker’s performance and how his two brutal clashes with Yoel Romero could have left a permanent mark on the Australian.
While Till doesn’t expect to be facing a compromised Whittaker he does think the all-out war approach takes its toll on fighters over time.
The Liverpudlian cited Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway as two fighters who have clearly been affected by their approach to fighting.
“One big thing I’ve always known throughout my career, the wars take the toll on you, and whoever you are, you can see them taking the toll,” Till told MMA Fighting during the UFC on ESPN 14 media day.
“No disrespect, but when you look at guys like Justin Gaethje, and I look at Max Holloway now, and sometimes I see glimpses of them slurring a little bit cause of the wars they’ve been in. All respect to the wars, but it ain’t a smart choice when you’re fighting.”
Till cited Floyd Mayweather as an example of a fighter whom he’d like to mirror when it comes to his post-fight condition.
“You want to sort of look in the direction of someone like Floyd Mayweather. Someone like that. He’s 40-plus, whatever he is now, and he’s got all his brain cells because he hardly got hit.
“So I think them wars, they take the toll on you, and they do take the toll on your chin. I think anyone I touch anyway at middleweight, I found myself I’m going to hurt with that left hand but we’ll see.”
Till’s last outing ended with him snapping a two-fight losing streak when he defeated Kelvin Gastelum via split decision at UFC 244. Before that, though, Till dropped a huge knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC London.
Till claims to have learned a lot from that fight. However, with Masvidal having reached new heights since then, the middleweight contender admitted he underestimated him. Till also joked that had he not done so, he would currently be on the cover of UFC 4.
“Always stick to the game plan,” Till said of his strategy going into this weekend.
“If only I had done it against Masvidal, I would probably be on the cover of EA Sports right now. You can’t fight every fight [with] perfection, and it’s not like that. The fight game is certainly not like that, especially in MMA.
“That’s why it doesn’t matter who you’re fighting, they could have a big belly, you can never underestimate or overlook any fighter.
“I sort of overlooked Masvidal a bit because he was a bit tinier. I beat Stephen Thompson, and Stephen Thompson beat him comfortably. Maybe I did. Maybe on my part I did [underestimate him], but you live and you learn.”