by Kieran Malone for MMAWeekly.com
Paul Taylor was on the verge of a huge win, only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Having been just a couple of strikes away from finishing top Ultimate Fighting Championship prospect Marcus Davis, his opponent came roaring back to win the fight. Coming off back-to-back losses, his approaching bout with Jess Liaudin will have huge significance to his career.
“I am treating it like every other fight; I am not feeling any extra pressure about my fight with Jess,” responded Taylor when asked if he felt more pressure coming off two straight defeats.
This rematch of two veterans of the British circuit is sure to be a heated encounter that could turn into a war. Their previous meeting was a close battle in which Taylor was awarded the decision. The outcome was heatedly contested as Liaudin and his camp thought that they should have been the victors on the night.
“Jess thinks he should have got the nod on the night, but I would have to disagree and I think I picked up a deserved decision,” commented Taylor on the result of their previous meeting.
Taylor made his Octagon debut at UFC 70, a card which heralded the UFC’s return to Britain after a five year hiatus. Taylor made a successful debut as he systematically picked apart Edilberto de Oliveira before stopping his foe in the third round.
Unfortunately, he would lose his next bout to Marcus Davis, not before dropping him with a head kick and nearly finishing him. A dramatic turn of events saw Davis submitting Taylor with an armbar in the first round.
His last bout was an intense battle with fellow Englishman Paul Kelly in January of this year when he lost a decision.
“Indifferent” is how Taylor responded when he learned he would be facing Liaudin again. “I feel I have already proved I can beat Jess, but I will fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me and wherever they tell me to fight,” he stated with confidence.
“I feel I have learned a great deal off my last two losses. I have worked even harder for this fight, training three times a day working with my coach John Roberts and training partners such as Cage Rage veteran Marc Goddard and all the rest of the lads at Team Supreme. I am very confident at this moment in time.
“I have no trouble making weight,” chuckled Taylor as he ate lunch three days out from his fight. “That’s what saunas are for.” With little trouble making the 170-pound class, this is an additional pressure lifted off his shoulders this week. In the days leading up to the fight, his training starts to simmer down as he prepares for the fight. Taylor’s concentration now fully focused on the beating of Jess Liaudin.
The UFC recently inked a multi-event deal with Setanta Sports that will allow the promotion to broadcast cards live to the British audience. The British public is eager for success, which will lead to high expectations placed on British fighters such as Taylor and Michael Bisping. A live three-hour slot during prime television time will lead to a potentially large audience in the United Kingdom. Television deals like this are a great tool to boost the popularity of the sport.
“The sport has grown massively over here and I am very happy to be one of the leading British fighters to begin the evolution of the sport over here. It has given me great delight to see how well the sport has developed and evolved, which excites me greatly.”
The platform is set for Taylor. He has the opportunity to get back on the winning path and impress a large British audience who are craving British stars. When he faces Jess Liaudin on June 7 at UFC 85 the result could play a major factor in determining the path of Taylor’s future career.
When asked for a prediction, he laughed and commented, “I hope for a first round knockout, but more importantly I want a good performance and get back to winning ways.”