It’s only been a few weeks since the UFC’s inaugural event in Liverpool, England, an event used as a vehicle for Darren Till to level up his star power in the sport, and it appears to have worked.
Till (17-0-1) defeated Stephen Thompson (14-3-1) via unanimous decision in the main event and while it came with an asterisk, due to Till missing weight, any anonymity he may have enjoyed in his hometown prior to the fight is now firmly a thing of the past.
“It’s mad, everywhere I go, whether I’m in the car or walking, everyone just knows me and it’s like, ‘Darren Till, the face of MMA in Liverpool’,” Till told ESPN. ]
“I love it. I love the positive attention, I really do. I’m always going to be grounded, I’ve still got the same bunch of mates from when I was a kid. I still go to the same places and do the same things. I still think that I’m a 17-year-old boy and nothing will change. The only thing that’s changed for me is that I’m going to become one of the greatest fighters of all time.”
One of the highlight moments from the UFC Fight Night on May 27 was Till’s entrance to the octagon. He usually walks out to ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins but threw a curveball by switching it to ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond. The result was 8,500-plus fans inside the Echo Arena on their feet, singing along, creating an incredible moment for the Scouser.
“I’ve watched it about 50 times,” Till said. “Everyone knows my walkout song is Phil Collins, so I picked that ‘Sweet Caroline’ song for a reason, because of the Liverpool crowd, the Liverpool fans.
“I know what type of people British fans are. People are starting to say it’s one of the top five walkouts of all time in the UFC, that’s ridiculous. Forget the fight, that walkout alone was history there.”
After selling out the Echo Arena, the biggest indoor arena available in Liverpool, Till has his eyes firmly set on headlining a UFC event in Anfield, home to Liverpool F.C. and has started a social media campaign, referring to the soccer stadium as ‘Merseyside Square Garden’.
“Listen, I didn’t think that the Echo would happen, but it did,” Till said. “The Echo website crashed on the day of ticket sales. While it was down, there were 70,000 clicks for tickets — that means a stadium sell-out.
“I believe with enough momentum, enough advertising on my part and people wanting to come see me fight again, I believe it’s definitely possible.
“That is all part of my plan and dreams. Could it happen? I believe it, 100 percent.”