With Darren Till’s fighting future back on the right track per se, our mind is recollected back to May 2018 when the Mersey played host to the UFC for the first, and only, time in history.

As Liverpool faltered in the Champions League final a night prior, unarmed combat picked back up the city’s spirits.

Notably, Liverpool is and has always been a fighting city. Fighters in every sense. From politics to sport.

Many boxers from Merseyside have found worldwide success and those in mixed martial arts have gradually begun to since the beginning of the last decade.

Terry Etim, Paul Sass and Paul Kelly all had extended runs in the UFC, but never forced an appearance on Merseyside from the sport’s elite avenue.

It took Darren Till before that happened.

His breakout four-minute demolition of Donald Cerrone in Gdansk attracted the attention of the martial arts community, but more importantly, the summit of the UFC brass.

Acquiring a predecessor to Michael Bisping’s United Kingdom throne wasn’t something they perhaps foresaw formulating that quickly, but one they accepted immediately.

As expected, demand was high. The event sold out within minutes; the quickest in Echo Arena history. 

As Dublin got behind a rising Conor McGregor in 2014, Liverpool replicated the support for their rising star. ​

Much like in Ireland four years prior, the main event walkout was electrifying. ‘The Gorilla’ flowed to sport’s most dangerous arena to the soft, but substantial sound of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’. 

The joy in seeing the sport’s ultimate promotion finally grace the Mersey docks was a sight most identify as singular to other countries.

The fight wasn’t as electric as the crowd, with both men participating in a tense striking match that intrigued the sport’s most intricate minds. A fifth-round knockdown by Till provided a spell of excitement and ultimately, his forward-pressure was favoured by all three judges.

At the time of the event, it was arguably the most anticipated non-pay-per-view card of the year and the eventual victory made for a special night in the history of English combat.

In sport, it is rare that somebody openly accepts their weaknesses and failures. In fighting, it is almost unheard of. Darren Till however has a refreshing honesty and openness that many from the outside can openly admire, and those on the inside do secretly.

Ultimately, his undoubted, realistic confidence auspiciously reassured a obligatory composed manner against the sport’s most collected individual.

Fans in attendance were similarly anticipating the promotional debut of Next Generation’s Molly McCann. 

Just three months prior to the event, she secured the inaugural Cage Warriors flyweight title in the same arena, with thousands attending the what could be called her ‘coming-out-party’.

Outside of the main event, McCann garnered mass attention to her fight, ahead of several top European competitors elsewhere on the card. 

Unfortunately, but maybe fortunately, McCann suffered a second-round submission loss, despite her striking having promise in the initial stages. 

The loss only helped her grow. Three consecutive wins since has eradicated her early disappointment and put her amongst the best female flyweight fighters in the world, with title implications not too far away in the distant future.

Oddly, the global reach that the UFC has works to their disadvantage sometimes.

The sheer fragmented nature of the fan-base makes specific events based solely around specific individuals in their home country rare. Liverpool was fortunate to witness one two years ago on the Mersey docks.

A career moment like that is priceless for a legacy. With that, Darren Till has all the potential to secure his legacy as the most successful Englishman in the sport’s short, but renowned, history.