Eleven months ago, Dilano Taylor defended his welterweight title for Titan FC, a smaller organization. Nine months ago, he was fighting on the Professional Fighter’s League Challenger Series for a spot in the regular season. Four months ago, he failed to reach the playoffs as he was knocked out by former champion Magomed Magomedkerimov.
Since then, Taylor, who is only 25 years old, took a short notice fight to replace an injured opponent and knocked out #1 seed and former Bellator champion Rory MacDonald in the semifinals. This punched his ticket to the championship.
In what will be his sixth fight in 11 months, Taylor explained how he has stayed locked in. “There was never an offseason for me. My body has just always been used to doing what I told it to. I stay disciplined, I stay structured, my regimen and everything I do, my routine, so my body doesn’t have a choice. It’s all about me. I have to go out there and do what I have to do.”
Even if the odds have been stacked against him, Taylor truly believes the PFL championship belt belongs around his waist. “It would mean that I’m destined to be here, that I’m exactly where I need to be, right on time. I left Titan FC a year ago. In December, I fought for my first legitimate world title. Right now, in November, it has not even been a full year. I’m about to be a world champion yet again.”
Taylor gleamed with pride and excitement when asked about a potential victory celebration back home with fellow champions and Jamaican countrymen Aljamain Sterling and Leon Edwards. “It’s going to be crazy because I feel like we’re actually starting a wave and people are starting to give Jamaican fighters a lot of attention. I’m really happy about that because that is basically what I wanted to do. I wanted to spread that energy and give my people a chance. They don’t have a lot, but now they get to see that it can be done. It can be accomplished and maybe they’ll have that opportunity to compete themselves.”
If Taylor completes his fairytale by defeating Sadibou Sy on Friday night, a million dollars and the biggest parade in Jamaica’s history will be on the horizon.
Anik Subramanian is an aspiring MMA journalist based in the United States. He discovered his passion for MMA when the sport was the first to return to live action during the pandemic. He is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been a lifelong sports fan.