A bout between Jack Hermansson and Darren Till is reportedly in the works for UFC London, according to a report from The Independent. The bout would serve as the main event of the card, which is set to take place on March 21, 2020, at The O2 Arena in London, England.
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“We’ve talked to the UFC about the fight and they have shown interest in it. They like it, I like it,” Hermansson told The Independent.
Hermansson is coming off of a second-round TKO loss to surging contender Jared Cannonier back in their meeting on September 28. The defeat snapped the Swede’s four-fight winning streak, which he amassed over the likes of Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert, former two-weight WSOF champion David Branch, and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
“The Joker” is currently the sixth-ranked middleweight in the UFC.
His prospective opponent, England’s Till, sits at No. 5 in the UFC rankings following his successful middleweight debut at UFC 244 in November.
Till defeated former interim middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum by split decision in his first fight since moving up from 170 pounds. The win marked the end of his two-fight losing streak to then-champion Tyron Woodley and the UFC’s newest superstar, Jorge Masvidal. Both losses took place at welterweight.
Till’s successful 185-pound debut caused a bit of a shakeup in the middleweight division.
The former welterweight title challenger called for a bout against third-ranked middleweight Yoel Romero, only to then walk back the callout, admitting that he was “blind drunk” when he made the decision to do so.
Till has also taken to calling out former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker on numerous occasions for a fight.
Whittaker suffered his first loss since 2014 when he was knocked out by the newly-crowned Israel Adesanya in the second round of their bout at UFC 243. The newly dethroned champion is still one of the best fighters in the division, and a fight with Till could be just what Whittaker needs to reassert his position as the top contender for his old title.
Whittaker accepted Till’s challenge on Twitter, stating he would “See [Till] in London.” That, however, doesn’t seem to be the direction in which the UFC is going.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that Cannonier has signed a bout agreement to face Whittaker on March 7 at UFC 248, but the fight hasn’t been finalized up to this point.
“Now people are starting to talk about Jared Cannonier fighting Whittaker, so maybe Till will be open to fight me,” Hermansson said to The Independent. “It is early [in the negotiations], but I’m really hoping that we can make this fight happen, because it would really determine who the best middleweight in Europe is. And I think it would be good for the fans to have that in London.”
Hermansson provided an early glimpse into what he would expect a fight with Till to look like, saying, “I would make sure to have a very complete gameplan and I really would like to pressure him and do a lot of damage in the standup before I start to mix it up. I know that a lot of fighters in the division respect my ground game, but you saw some of my standup game in the ‘Jacare’ fight, and that’s something I would like to show a little bit more of.”
The Swede told The Independent that he believes the winner of a potential Whittaker/Cannonier fight would likely receive the next title shot to face Adesanya, but either he or Till, should the bout materialize, would be a win away from the next crack at the belt.
Shane Connelly is a journalism student at Penn State with a passion for sharing the stories of MMA fighters.