Much like the aftermath of UFC Fight Night 118 when Darren Till vanquished Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the first round, all eyes are directed towards the future for the undefeated 25-year-old upstart, and we are all channeling our inner Bill Goldberg in asking the question: who’s next?!
Dana White may not make fights the same night as fight night, but he did not shoot down the possibility of Darren Till challenging for the title and told reports during the UFC Liverpool Post-Fight Press Conference that he wanted to “take” Till to Vegas. Not one to hide his feelings about fighters, it’s usually not difficult to ascertain whom White is high on, and White is making no secret that he feels Darren Till is special. Talks of taking Till to Vegas seems to imply a pay-per-view main event, which could mean a title shot. But if you ask Till, the names Woodley, Covington, and RDA are not on his radar. Speaking with Megan Olivi following his unanimous decision victory over Stephen Thompson, he shared the names who are:
“I’d like Usman. I want Usman. Him, Masvidal. I just don’t want to say the winner of Colby/RDA. I feel like the winner of that should fight Woodley, then we’ll see what’s happening because that’s a bit of confusion right now.
“I know I just beat the number one, but I still want to beat all these other guys. Everyone goes on about Usman. I’m not scared of that guy.”
This may be the case of a smitten party of a relationship trying to shower the other with all the finer thing in life, everything they ever dreamed of, while the would-be recipient maintains, “No, I’m not here for that. That’s not why I’m with you. I’m in it for the love.” But one can only say “no” for so long before caving in. So whether Till wants to receive special treatment or not, the nature of his relationship with the UFC and Dana White has already been established. Till has already received special treatment by having the UFC travel to his hometown and break new grounds in only his second main event. Many would also argue he received special treatment for having the opportunity to face Thompson in the first place. So while Till may be open to fighting Kamaru Usman, Usman himself does not think that would ever happen because of this perceived notion of “protection” Till receives. In the end, regardless of whatever or whoever’s next, all eyes will continue to be on Till to see whether the sky is the limit for this rising star.
Who do you think should be next for Darren Till?