Darren Till: Chimaev a future champ, Edwards would be his toughest match-up

Darren Till might not be in the UFC fold anymore, but he's certainly got thoughts about the title picture. More than just that, he's predicting where things might go.

By: Victor Rodriguez | 2 months ago
Darren Till: Chimaev a future champ, Edwards would be his toughest match-up
Darren Till speaking with the media. IMAGO/ Diego Ribas

After his departure from the UFC, Darren Till has been making the media rounds during a much-needed sabbatical.

While his fighting future hasn’t been determined yet, Till continues to observe the happenings in MMA from a distance. And his hypotheses are certainly interesting, to say the least.

Darren Till praises Khamzat, and also gives thoughts on Edwards

In an interview with Chamatkar Sandhu, Till took a look at the top of what was once his stomping grounds, the welterweight division. He boldly predicts that that Khamzat Chimaev, a longtime menace in the UFC ranks, will be the champion there.

From the interview (transcription courtesy of MMA Junkie‘s Farah Hannoun):

“I think he’s going to be the welterweight world champion. I really do,” Till said on “Smack Talk With Sandhu.” “I’ve changed my mind on who I think is going to be his toughest fight as well. I used to think Usman or Colby would be his toughest fight.

“I actually think Leon could be his toughest fight. Just because of his takedown defense and his striking. If I had to say his toughest fight in the welterweight division, I think it would be Leon… I’d like to see Khamzat get one more fight before he fights Leon, or potentially just fight Leon straight away.”

Darren Till to Chamatkar Sandhu, on Smack Talk with Sandhu

From a stylistic and skill perspective, it makes sense. Chimaev has been versatile with his powerful strikes and his formidable chain-grappling. Edwards has struggled with some high-level wrestlers in the past, but has sharpened his skillset to the point where he was able to outwork and defend against Kamaru Usman in some exchanges. Edwards also managed to establish control and neutralize Gunnar Nelson in their encounter. Edwards has precise and intelligent striking with disciplined output and movement, all of which has elevated him to elite status and led him to where he is now.

Not a bad idea, really…

All things considered, it’s a reasonable opinion. As noted in the excerpt above, Darren Till also goes on to mention that he believes Edwards is the toughest test Chimaev would be able to face at welterweight. That’s a massive compliment considering Chimaev’s boogeyman reputation at the moment as well as his trajectory.

But it’s also not likely to happen

Unfortunately, this position also ignores the fact that Chimaev’s own coach Andreas Michel has already confirmed that the UFC standout is already set to leave 170 behind and move up to middleweight. This is perhaps for the best considering Chimaev’s difficulties making the weight limit as well as the consequences from it. This also isn’t helped by the recent scuttlebutt that the Swedish fighter will be in fact be facing none other than Paulo Costa, who just signed a shiny new contract.

So while it may not happen — at least for the immediate and foreseeable future — it’s not a bad prediction or thought experiment. Maybe it’s also in Till’s best interest to keep tabs on things not just as a fan, but as someone who may someday return under the UFC banner and face Chimaev himself. That might be a tall order seeing as Darren Till is now out of the picture almost completely. Even with a return to the UFC ranks, he’d have to work his way up to make that happen.

He’s got plenty of open space on his schedule as he contemplates his next move, and that’s going to lead to more opportunities from him to analyze where things go from here. Time will tell, and we’ll certainly be hearing more from Darren Till.

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About the author
Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez has been a writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow since 2015. He started his way as a lowly commenter and moderator to become the miscreant he is now. He often does weekly bits on fringe martial arts items across the globe, oddball street combat pieces, previews, analysis, and some behind-the-scenes support. He has trained in wrestling, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the occasional Muay Thai and Judo lesson here and there. Victor has also been involved with acting and audio editing projects. He lives in Pennsylvania where he plays way too many video games and is an S-rank dad.

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