Darren Till is perhaps the hottest young fighter the UFC have right now. After a huge win back in October against big name fighter Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 118, the Liverpool native has his eyes on the the ultimate prize, the UFC Welterweight championship.
Till's backstory and rise into the MMA world is the stuff of a Hollywood movie. He began training in Muay Thai when he was 12 and had his first professional fight at 15, but it was after being stabbed twice in the at a house party in 2012 that his coach at the time suggested he move to Brazil to continue his MMA training.
Darren initially planned to only stay for 6 months but wound up living in Brazil for three and a half years perfecting his craft.
The Scouser signed a five fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship back in August and although he doesn't know when he'll fight next, he certainly knows who he wants to fight. Speaking ahead of the launch of EA SPORTS UFC 3 in London yesterday Till said "No, but everyone knows I want [Wonderboy] Thompson!"
You can understand why those Stateside have compared Till's rise to that of our own Conor McGregor. Putting the Americans' difficulties in differentiating between the UK and Ireland aside for a second, both are working class lads - one from Crumlin, one from Liverpool - both very charismatic, can talk the talk, are devastating mixed martial artists.
So, when I asked him to weigh in on McGregor's situation in the UFC and should he be stripped of his second title having, again not defended it, Till initially seemed to want to be politically correct but seemed unable to stop himself from giving his true feelings.
Do you know what mate, what is right and what is wrong anymore? It seems to me that rankings don't matter, belts don't matter, interim titles ... it's like you know, I don't really know all I really know is....Well yeah, he should be stripped yeah, why not? He's off boxing, making money, he's off doing this, doing that, you know and he's still the champ it's a bit wrong isn't it? Conor's done well, mate but you can't just fucking win a belt and not defend it. So he's gotta defend it or give it up.
When I asked him if he felt McGregor would ever even fight in the Octagon ever again Till said:
I don't know if he's gonna come back or not mate, I can't see it meself. So we'll see what happens. But do you know what, mate? I just couldn't give a fuck to be honest with you, I could care less.
I got to sit down and play the new UFC 3 game before I got to chat with Darren and the realism is scary so, naturally I had to ask him if he could pick anyone to fight against as himself in the game (other than the obvious choice of Wonderboy) who would he fight? Without even having to think about it: '[Mike] Platinum Perry'.
Other than fighting as himself who would he play as? Well, he created a dream match that I couldn't resist but play myself when I tried the game out myself yesterday. 'Probably Khabib', he answered when I asked him who he would play as and who would he fight? 'Gotta be Conor hasn't it?'
The most important question then, who would win? 'Khabib will take him won't he? He'll just take him down.'
We caught up with Darren Till to celebrate the release of EA SPORTS UFC 3, out on Friday 2nd February on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. To pre-order your copy today, head here.