Both a mammoth challenge and a mammoth opportunity lays in store for unbeaten Liverpool welterweight Darren Till next month, as he is set to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the main event of UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk on October 21st.
Till made his UFC debut back in May of 2015 and has since pieced together a 3-0-1 record in the promotion, bringing his overall professional ledger to 15-0-1. However, he has yet to face anyone even approaching the calibre of a Donald Cerrone and many feel that the sudden jump up in class might prove too much for the 24-year-old.
But Till seems undaunted by the task. Ever since the fight was announced, he has spoken with a belligerent confidence. After Cerrone commented, with seeming sincerity, that he had never heard of Till before receiving the fight offer, the Englishman responded, “He’s going to know me when I knock him out.”
The Muay Thai specialist’s response to the fans and media who doubt him was a similar one, contemptuous and dripping with self-belief.
“They can say what they want. At the end of the day, if ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone came into Muay Thai we’d consider him an amateur,” Till said on the latest episode of Irish MMA podcast Obviously Fight Talk. So what does that say? He wouldn’t be considered no top-level striker in Muay Thai, let me tell you that right now. So what’s the difference?”
“You’ve got people like Brendan Schaub saying he doesn’t know me, he’s disrespecting me and whatever, saying ‘Cowboy’ shouldn’t be taking this fight, but why shouldn’t he be taking the fight? Let’s get it straight, I’m unbeaten here,” he added. “I’m unbeaten. Nobody’s been able to beat me.
“So what do I do? Do I just stay on the prelims, do I? Fighting no one. Can’t I move up? Is this what the world’s come to? I can’t move up? I can’t fight these big guys? Is this what it is? A big gap? I’ll (expletive) show them what’s going to be a big gap on fight night when I crack him on the chin(Transcription via MMAJunkie).”.
The direct reference to Schaub comes after the extremely busy former UFC heavyweight, MMA analyst and podcaster claimed, like Cerrone, that he had never previously heard of Till, before adding that he didn’t understand why ‘Cowboy’ would accept such a bout.
“I don’t know who Darren Till is. I’m balls-deep, I have a show dedicated to mixed martial arts [and] I don’t know who Darren Till is,” Schaub said on a recent edition of his Big Brown Breakdown podcast.
“When Donald was sitting in that chair right there, as my co-host of ‘The Fighter and the Kid’, I told him, ‘Quit taking whatever fight they are offering you,'” Scahub added. “‘Only fight to get that next title shot. You need a belt.'”
“I get it, the whole, ‘I’ll fight anyone anywhere, I’m Cowboy, I don’t care who I fight.’ I get it. It’s what made him who he is. I just don’t get the point of this.”
Comments like these only fuel Till’s determination, however.
“I’ll be going in to take [Cerrone’s] chin clean off,” the Liverpudlian said. “So, you know, let these people talk, let Brendan Schaub go on his podcast and talk. Hasn’t he got better things to talk about? He should be worrying about the (expletive) 10 knockouts he’s had in his career.”
While Till is on a nice run since joining the promotion, Cerrone is on the first two-fight skid of his entire career and at 34 he has a lot of miles on the clock. However, while this may seem like the perfect time for a young kid to step in and make a name for himself against a legend, Cerrone’s performance in a narrow defeat to former champ Robbie Lawler last time out suggests that he still has plenty left in the tank.
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