UFC Oc­tagon war­rior Dar­ren “the Go­rilla” Till chal­lenges you to build fight-ready fit­ness from the ground game up

Men's Health (UK) - - Agenda -

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.

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