Till’s stock as a future champion has dwindled in recent years thanks to four defeats in five fights. While a successful middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum appeared to signal “The Gorilla” as a potential challenger for Israel Adesanya, back-to-back setbacks against Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson have derailed his surge to the top at 185 pounds.
Now at #8 in the division and in desperate need of a rebound performance, Till has turned to a man heading in the opposite direction on the UFC ladder for help: The Borz.
In February, Till made headlines after taking Chimaev up on his training offer, which “Borz” made in the months following the Liverpudlian’s disappointing main event loss to Brunson last September.
Now, with a spring back in his step and immense positivity about his future, Till has spoken about his experience alongside Chimaev at Sweden’s Allstar Training Center.
Till Praises Chimaev’s “Whole Aura”
After his latest loss, Till’s deficiencies on the ground appeared evident. With that in mind, most have pinpointed Chimaev’s imposing wrestling game, which has seen him ragdoll John Phillips, Rhys McKee, and Li Jingliang in the UFC, as the likely biggest tool Till can learn from during his time in Stockholm.
However, during an interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Till revealed that rather than improvements to his ground game or physical condition, it’s Chimaev’s mindset and motivation that has provided the biggest help.
“When you’re on a little bit of a downswing, you need motivation and inspiration. Back home, my coach—he is the one guy who’s always motivated and inspired me,” said Till. “But as like, another fighter, and just watching videos, and talking, and seeing how Khamzat is, and even his last fight, his post-fight interview—I actually got told he based it around one of my post-fight interviews—I just like his whole aura.
“For me, more important than anything, it’s not his wrestling or how fit he is, it’s his mentality,” revealed Till. “Now, I’ve come here, not as Darren Till the UFC superstar, I’ve come here as, in my head, Darren Till the beginner, who’s starting over—Darren Till 2.0.”
While Till looks ahead to his return to action later this year, perhaps against new rival Uriah Hall, Chimaev will hope to continue his rise towards the top of the welterweight division when he enters the cage for the first time in 2022.
After much back and forth and talk of a potential bout, it appears a clash between the Chechen-born Swede and Gilbert Burns is finally confirmed for UFC 273 next month. With a victory over “Durinho,” Chimaev will likely secure his place opposite the champion later in the year.
Do you think training with Khamzat Chimaev will help Darren Till return to winning ways in the UFC?