The Fascination Of Darren Till
By James Lee
As the UFC’s venture to Fight Island draws to a close, the anticipation to its end is surprisingly large. Not because it will spell the end of a historic period for the organisation, but it will conclude with a fight so anticipated that ending the month of combat is practically worth it.
Needless to say, the community enamours Robert Whittaker. His grit and past performances have fascinated the fanbase for years. Whenever he fights, people watch. A likeable personality with a contradicting fighting style to his manner fits the exact mould of a fighting favourite.
However, it cannot be doubted that the main attraction for the event is Darren Till. A fighter who has established himself as one of the sport’s most popular fighters, despite existing at the highest level for a small period. His level of popularity is fascinating, but one that can be categorised easily to the notion that the community feels they can relate to him. Whether they can or aspire to hold a related attitude, that resonation is one few in the sport have with the fanbase.
Till has never been afraid of the most sizable challenge, and people can associate to that. Even those who cannot relate, respect him. His willingness for a challenge can be little but valued.
This is the man who moved to Brazil alone at nineteen years of age.
This is the man who chose the most stylistically difficult fight in the most important moment of his career at UFC Liverpool.
This is the man who fought welterweight’s dominant champion just six fights into his UFC career.
This is the man who fought Jorge Masvidal six months on from his first professional loss.
This is the man who forced the UFC to let him fight Kelvin Gastelum in his middleweight debut.
The fight with Whittaker is the exact reason he continues to motivate. The most rational idea would be to ensure the maintenance of a winning streak by fighting outside contenders. Till instead insisted on fighting the former champion who himself has everything to prove.
Although most would say his confidence is very typical of his Liverpudlian upbringing, Till is clearly in the minority. Unashamedly unafraid to take the largest challenge available regardless of the possible consequences. The ability to take a chance even if the risk is high. That sort of self-belief motivates and invites fans to religiously follow his every move.
Not only that, his recent vulnerability is yet another calling for admiration. Although admitting he lost his inner invincibility when his unconscious body lay inside London’s O2 Arena, Till returned to gracefully deter a dangerous Mexican in the world’s most famous arena.
Now supporters can only hope for a full renewal to the days when his playful execution of Bojan Velickovic thrilled masses and his contrasting destruction of veteran Cowboy Cerrone poured him onto the community’s radar as the future of the sport.
Whatever the result this Saturday, the fans will always care. Darren Till has achieved a crucial asset in the modern fighting realm. Ceaseless intrigue from the audience. Honesty has ensured that status for him, and it does not seem like that will go away any time soon.