Darren Till inspired by Charles Oliveira’s rise to UFC gold: ‘I know for a fact’ I’ll be champion

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Seeing Charles Oliveira go through a turbulent road to becoming UFC lightweight champion has motivated Darren Till.

After over a decade with the UFC, Brazil’s Oliveira finally claimed gold when he stopped Michael Chandler in the second round to win the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262. However, it wasn’t an easy path to the top for the UFC’s all-time leader in submission wins, who suffered numerous setbacks on the way.

Having gone through ups and downs himself, it’s often been a frustrating journey for Till (18-3-1 MMA, 6-3-1 UFC). But the promising talent out of Liverpool says he’s only getting started.

“I take inspiration from a lot of things, and you see Charles Oliveira, he has just became the lightweight champion after what, 10 years, 11 years,” Till said on Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast. “How many losses? How many wins? How many setbacks? How much being looked over? So that for me is a big factor, knowing that I’m 28, I haven’t been in MMA not that long, only a few years, and I feel like I’m at my prime in the next year or two.”

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Till has been touted as a potential UFC champion for several years now but has yet to reach those heights. The 28-year-old climbed to the top of the UFC welterweight rankings in 2018 but saw his title dreams crushed by then-champion Tyron Woodley. That was followed by a knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal, prompting Till to make the move up to 185 pounds.

He would score a much-needed win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 but wasn’t able to build off that momentum when he was defeated by former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker this past July. Till was scheduled to return in April against Marvin Vettori in what was projected to be a No. 1 contender bout but was forced to withdraw due to a broken collarbone.

Till is currently linked to a main event bout with Derek Brunson on Aug. 14 but can’t fully commit to the date until he confirms that he’s healthy enough to compete. That said, he is already back in the gym and says he is determined more than ever to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

“I’ve sacrificed too much f*cking sh*t in my life to get to this point to be like, ‘Yeah man, I’m happy I was a top-three UFC fighter,'” Till said. “A lot of people get to the UFC and they feel like they’ve achieved. ‘Oh, I’m in the UFC. Sound.’ I ain’t happy with just being in the UFC.

He continued, “I’ve sacrificed too much f*cking sh*t. I’ve never had another job. I’ve never done any other sh*t in me life. I’ve gone through hell, and I’ve got to this point. I’m not prepared in any way, shape or form to take any steps back. In fact, everyday I feel like I’m more violent to get what I want. In retrospect, I’m not going to let no one or nothing stop me. I know for a fact in my life I will be a UFC champion. There just ain’t no two ways about it.”