Till (18-4-1), of Liverpool, made headlines this week when he surfaced at Allstars Training Center alongside Chimaev (10-0). Till told ESPN he is still associated with his longtime training camp, Team Kaobon in England, but wanted to spend time around Chimaev, one of the fastest-rising stars in the sport.
"I got the feeling he's a lot like me," Till told ESPN. "No bulls---. He's just a guy who trains hard and is a little bit crazy. I wanted to put myself back in the beginner seat. I remember when I first walked into Team Kaobon and I was a beginner ... I came in with my tail between my legs and I'm loving every single second of my life right now."
Till, 29, rose rapidly to a UFC welterweight title fight in 2018, but since then he has switched weight classes and lost four of his past five fights. Despite that, Till has been a steady headliner for the UFC, and the promotion recently rewarded him for that with a new contract. Till did not disclose terms of the deal, but said he was grateful the UFC still wished to heavily invest in his career.
After a submission loss to Derek Brunson in September, Till said he couldn't even fly home to face his family and friends. He initially stayed in Las Vegas and is now in Stockholm indefinitely. He is also recovering from a knee injury. His coach, Colin Heron, told ESPN that Till tore an ACL prior to his loss to Brunson, but Till has refused to use that as an excuse.
"After that Derek fight, I was looking at myself in the mirror and it wasn't me, I wasn't Darren Till," Till said. "[Chimaev] fully believes he's going to smash every guy and make money, and you need to be around that s---, trust me. It's infectious. Especially for a guy like me, who believes that as well."
There is no immediate time frame on Till's return to the Octagon. Till said he intends to spend the near future working back into fight shape, addressing injuries and learning at Allstars. When he's ready to accept a fight, he will notify the UFC and said he will probably have several options to choose from.
He does not have a specific opponent in mind next, although he has gone back and forth with Uriah Hall on social media. He mentioned names such as Sean Strickland and Jack Hermansson as other potential options but said he will likely have no preference when the time comes.