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‘I’m going to be a millionaire by 25’: PFL’s Dilano Taylor turned 3 short-notice fights into the opportunity of a lifetime

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Dylano Taylor shouldn’t be here.

Not, Indeedhe shouldn’t be here.

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Not looking up from Rory McDonald’s knockout. He did not fight for the main title for only four years of his fighting career. Not one fight away from a million dollar win.

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Taylor, who is fighting Sadibu Si in the PFL welterweight final on Friday at the 2022 PFL World Championship in New York, entered the 2022 season as a reserve after winning a fight in the league’s Challenger Series. He knew his number could be called but could not expect it to be done on short notice as he was invited to replace Joao Zeferino at PFL 3 when Zeferino’s opponent Magomed Magomedkerimov had to pull out due to visa issues for the day before. Show May 6th.

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He defeated the much more experienced Zeferino (it was Zeferino’s 35th pro fight, Taylor’s ninth) by split decision to earn three points in the standings, but found he had no guarantee that he would remain part of the PFL’s plans for the regular season. As it turns out, he was not booked for PFL 6, the next scheduled tournament to feature welterweights.

“I’m not going to lie, it broke my mood a bit because I really took the opportunity, I really jumped at it,” Taylor told MMA Fighting. “To be realistic, I put my career on the line because MMA is such a fickle sport. You can lose and that’s okay. But taking a fight in a day with only nine fights against an experienced veteran with three times as much experience as you is a little wild. This is unheard of. So I actually went out there and did it on a day’s notice and just to be kind of thrown aside and I didn’t even know if I was going to come out as a bench again or anything like that.

“I remember when I fought Magomed, they flew out on Tuesday, not Sunday, because they were late and I couldn’t rush. I didn’t have time to pack up as they tried to jump on me. They said we were leaving on Tuesday and I needed to put on some weight and all that.”

By a strange coincidence, Taylor was called back the day before, this time to replace Zeferino and fight Magomedkerimov. The Postman got another last-minute delivery challenge that proved to be too much of a challenge as he was completed in the second round by the 2018 league champions.

After that, Taylor definitely thought his campaign was over.

“I remember coming home thinking, ‘Wow, I was really fiddling with my bag. I really felt the ball. I can’t believe this happened,” Taylor said. “The only reason I felt like I couldn’t believe this happened was because I feel like at any given moment I am a tough fight for anyone. This is really what I believe in.

“If you tell me that I have to fight the Bellator champion, the UFC champion, no matter who, you tell me that I have to fight them during the day, otherwise they have to fight. to me on the first day I will be a very difficult match for them because they won’t know what to do. They won’t understand how to defeat me. That’s really how I feel.”

But this is not the end. Once again the PFL called on their most reliable reserve and once again Taylor answered the call on short notice, although at least he had two days instead of one to prepare for the biggest name he was matched with. so far: Former Bellator champion Rory McDonald.

Not only did Taylor run into a real star, he ran into one of the men who inspired him to become a fighter. And who made him look like an amateur at the gym.

“I’m like, ‘God damn, I’m fighting Rory, this is crazy,'” Taylor said. “For comparison, I started training in 2015. Rory vs Robbie Lawler [at UFC 189] was in 2015. So that was actually one of the first fights I saw. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is crazy. This is what I want to do. The fight ended and they turned to face him and I thought, “Oh shit, this is crazy.” This is what I want to do. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’ll do it anyway. Why not?’ I remember thinking to myself, “That shouldn’t be me. I can’t leave my face like this.”

“I remember having a lot of respect for Rory and Robbie Lawler in the fight. I remember watching Rory show up in Bellator and seeing him rise and thinking, “This guy is amazing.” He’s such a cool dude.” He actually came and practiced a bit at Kill Cliff. I trained with him twice, but I didn’t really train with him like that. He arrived at training camp before the PFL regular season but didn’t really stay long enough to do so. I remember when he trained there, he passed me six times in five minutes. I remember thinking, “Do I deserve to play this sport?” I felt helpless. I felt like I was drowning. “Am I good enough for this sport?”

There was no time for reverence when Taylor found his name in front of MacDonald’s. Reserve or not, a win would have secured Taylor a place in the PFL postseason. So no matter what their history was, when it came time to fight, Taylor, as he put it, “flicked the switch.”

Dilano Taylor and Rory McDonald
Cooper Neil,

The included Taylor became a career highlight, taking just under four minutes to beat McDonald with punches in what would eventually become the last fight of McDonald’s career. Revisiting the finish, you can see Taylor pause for a moment before insisting on finishing. This is the moment he remembers clearly.

“I remember after I hit him, at first I thought: “What the hell is he with me? Is he trying to lure me in?” Taylor said. “Of course it gave me the memory of being submitted six times in five minutes and I was like, ‘Is he fucking me? Then when I saw him soften, I thought, “He doesn’t fuck with me.” Fit.’ I don’t have time to think, just go, go, go, go, dig it. That’s why I took this short second. Also, a lot of people in MMA rush and get on their feet. I’m not trying to get up. Let me see what he’s going to do, pull it out of him first, and then leave.

Taylor’s run math is mind-boggling when you look at it. Three fights in four days, and now another victory that could change his life. Despite it all, the 25-year-old kept his cool, a behavior he attributes to his upbringing as the de facto man of the house.

“I feel like I’ve probably been this way all my life,” Taylor said. “I am the oldest in my family. The eldest is like a third parent or a second parent in my case, because I grew up in an incomplete family with two other brothers. My mother had to work, when she was at work, I sat with the children. So I had to say, “Don’t touch the door. Do not do that. Do not do that. I had to make sure they were fed, I had to make sure it happened. I guess over time it gradually made me more and more mature as I moved forward. That’s what I would say. I feel like it happened.

“I used to get into fights a lot at school and I feel like maybe that led to me wanting to do something more than just fighting in the street and fighting in the gym or something like that.”

Don’t let Taylor’s humble approach fool you. Despite having been a professional for less than five years, Taylor knew from the start that big money awaited him, including the kind of pay that veteran fighters dream of. All because he was in the right place at the right time when the PFL needed someone to save their fights.

Perhaps Taylor should be here.

“I remember telling myself that by the age of 25 I would be a millionaire,” Taylor said. “I kept saying this to people and people laughed at me, thought I was crazy. “I’m going to be a millionaire by the age of 25.” I wrote it on the board. I wrote a bunch of things on the board that I needed to see. I woke up to it every day, I saw it every day, I went to bed to it every day. I even videotaped myself saying, “I’ll be a millionaire by the age of 25.” People thought I was crazy, but it seemed to me that I showed it many years ago. I’ve already seen it.

“Can I say that in 2016 I was thinking of becoming a millionaire? No. I was just trying to fight and have fun, but now it’s become something more.”


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