Yesterday afternoon, in the main event of the UFC’s latest stop in Poland, rapidly rising UFC welterweight contender Darren Till burst into title contention with a first round mauling of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. At the event’s post-fight press conference, Till discussed a possible future title shot, and made the somewhat surprising admission that he doesn’t consider UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley to be the toughest fight in the division. Instead, he believes Demian Maia, who Woodley recently defeated, to be the toughest test at welterweight.
“I think, really, the hardest person in the welterweight division is Demian Maia. I do. We’ve seen time and time again, it’s mad being in that world of the ground [with him].”
“[Grapplers like Maia] just bring you into this crazy world of false sense of security, and when they’re ready they just strangle the life out of you. Demian does that. Demian doesn’t come in to punch or whatever. He thought he was a striker a few years ago, and now he’s gone back to what he knows, and he is, to me, I think he’s the biggest challenge for anyone. I know Colby [Covington] is fighting him now, and Colby is a relentless wrestler. But I believe that Demian is the hardest fight in the welterweight division.”
With his defeat of Cowboy, Till moved to a flawless 16-0-1. The only thing close to a hiccup on his record is a draw with Nicolas Dalby.
Maia, meanwhile, recently came up short in his long-awaited bid for the UFC welterweight title, giving up a tepid decision opposite Woodley. This loss was preceded by impressive defeats of Jorge Masvidal and Carlos Condit.
Do you think Demian Maia is a tougher matchup for rising welterweights than Tyron Woodley? Is Darren Till right? Join the conversation in the comments section.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/22/2017.