MAKE BELLY FAT TAP OUT
UFC Octagon warrior Darren “the Gorilla” Till challenges you to build fight-ready fitness from the ground game up
The world of combat sports has a reputation for ruthlessness and double dealing. But actual back-stabbing? For Darren Till, the 25-year-old UFC fighter, it was a grim reality that served as a catalyst for success. In 2012, an altercation in Till’s native Liverpool left him with knife wounds on his back that missed a main artery by a millimetre. “It made me more aware of the value of life, and that you shouldn’t take it for granted,” he says. “It made me train harder.”
Sensing that a change of pace might do the aspiring fighter good, Till’s then coach suggested he relocate to Brazil. A six-month trip turned into three and a half years of Muay Thai and kickboxing.
His career quickly gathered pace. In 2015, Till made his UFC debut. He knocked his opponent unconscious with a flurry of elbows and began his ascent to the top of the sport. There have been setbacks, however – most notably his recent defeat to Tyron Woodley. But “the Gorilla” is already plotting his climb back to the peak of the UFC. He trains five days a week, both morning and night, with a focus on wrestling. Cardio comes in the form of pad work, based around Till’s beloved Muay Thai, and sparring sessions in which no punches are pulled. “We get sparring as close to a fight as possible,” says Till. Then, an intense running set sees out the week. “Friday is sprints day,” Till explains. “I do 45-50 sprints, with rest intervals of 10-20 seconds. That’ll make you sweat.”
His principles can ensure your own success. When training, remove yourself from day-to-day distractions, whether that’s in Brazil or a quiet corner of your gym. Till’s decision to do double sessions, train at near-fight intensity and regularly plough through 50 sprints also indicates a single-mindedness you’d do well to replicate. Your paunch won’t have a puncher’s chance.
For Till, comebacks are now a part of life and hold zero fear. “I want to beat every single welterweight. I want to fight anyone and everyone.” Those in his way had better watch out.