(This article first appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
Darren Till emerged from UFC Fight Night 130 with a win over the promotion’s #1 ranked welterweight, Stephen Thompson, but due to what unfolded, he doesn’t believe a title shot should materialize. So who should be next for the rising star? Kamaru Usman? Or what about a do over with Thompson?
Leading up to yesterday’s card, Till repeatedly said he planned to score an emphatic, stoppage win over Thompson, and continue his rise. Well, before the fight happened, Till missed weight by several pounds. Then in the bout itself, Till recorded a win over the vaunted striker, but he did so via the judge’s scorecards. Two the judges scored the fight 49-46 for Till, while one had it 48-47 for the British fighter. But, the fight was extremely competitive, and more than a few people have opined “Wonderboy” won the the fight.
So, what does Till think should come next for him? Considering he just defeated the division’s #1 contender? Following UFC FN 130, he said this (quote via MMA Junkie):
“I missed weight, so I don’t feel I deserve a title shot anyway,” Till said. “I missed weight. So there you go, right away. I don’t deserve it. I feel like Stephen deserves it. Whoever wins out of the interim (title fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington at UFC 225 should fight) maybe Stephen or (Kamaru) Usman. They deserve it more. … I still want to beat them all in the division. I want to come back and put that weight thing behind me.”
“…I think Stephen deserves a go with the interim more than I do myself. I know I’ve just beat him in a close fight, but give it to Stephen. He made weight and is still No. 1 and has beat more guys than me. Give it to him. I’m a realist. I’m not going to sit here and bull(expletive) anyone. I’m not going to bull(expletive) myself, and I’m certainly not going to bull(expletive) you. Give it to Stephen.”
A lot of people will likely find these comments refreshing. After all, Till did miss weight, and he didn’t record the type of victory that left the masses calling for him to fight the champ, Tyron Woodley. Further, Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington are fighting for the interim belt at UFC 225, June 9th, so, moving Till into a title fight under these circumstances just wouldn’t sell.
So, who should Till fight next? Obviously Usman is a possibility, since he’s been on a ridiculous run and is ranked #5. That fight could also provide a vetting for Till’s wrestling game. But, if the UFC doesn’t keep Woodley on the sidelines to face the winner of RDA – Covington, then the UFC might tap Usman for a title shot.
Another possibility is running it back with Thompson. Now, yes, when the UFC first booked Thompson – Till, many observers questioned why the promotion was putting the latter in a bout, which could theoretically eliminate him as a short term challenger for the belt. After all, Thompson’s already fought for the title twice.
But, the UFC already let that genie out of the bottle, and following Sunday’s card, Till’s title shot case isn’t that strong anyways. Especially since he didn’t make weight. So, maybe the should take a look at running it back with Thompson? A rematch might deliver the fireworks people were hoping for on Sunday.