Jesse “JT Money” Taylor appeared on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. He won all of his fights while on the show and advanced to the finals in the season finale. He was one fight away from a UFC contract when a night out in Las Vegas cost him his spot in the finals and his chance at fighting in the UFC.
“When I won the chance to fight in the finale, it was a surreal experience. I was a young kid and I was just so happy that I had, in my mind, that I won TUF, or that I was about to win TUF. I celebrated like a rock star monkey just out of control, just a wild man,” said Taylor about his appearance on TUF 7 in 2008.
“I got a call from Palace Station security. Apparently Jesse Taylor rented a limo and kicked the window out of the limousine. And when he was approached by security, it started flipping out and getting hostile with them and basically telling them, ‘do you know who I am? I’m a UFC fighter.’ And that (expletive) don’t cut it,” explained UFC president Dana White.
Taylor was removed from finals and has spent the last nine years trying to earn his way back into the organization that once barred him. On episode 3 of TUF 25, Taylor took a big step in the direction of getting back to where he once was. Taylor defeated Team Garbrandt’s Mehdi Baghdad by unanimous decision and advanced to the quarter-final round of the welterweight tournament.
Taylor immediately took Baghdad down in the opening seconds of the first round and hammered away with punches and elbows from within his former teammates guard. He took Baghdad’s back and mounted him. Baghdad was able to briefly get back to his feet only to be put on his back again. The first round was dominated by Taylor.
Baghdad’s one moment in the fight came early in the second frame when he landed a left hook that wobbled Taylor. Taylor pressed forward and took Baghdad down. For the remainder of the round, Taylor controlled Baghdad on his way to a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
The win kept Team Dillashaw undefeated thus far in the competition with three consecutive wins in team matchups.