Over the last year and a half, former Strikeforce middleweight Jesse “JT Money” Taylor has worked hard to get himself back on track after a stretch that saw him lose three of four fights.
Most importantly, Taylor has stepped up his competition level this year and has picked up two wins over tough veterans Kendall Grove and John Phillips, earning a spot in the World Series of Fighting middleweight title tournament.
“I’ve had a good year,” said Taylor. “I wish I would have been a little busier, but I think it’s a blessing in disguise. It’s helped me get really ready for these big fights more.
“A little experience goes a long way in MMA and everything is finally coming together for me and I’m starting to see the big picture. I feel I’m one of the best in the world at middleweight and I want to prove it.”
Taylor was originally supposed to fight former MFC champion Elvis Mutapcic in the first round of the middleweight tournament a couple of months ago, but after a member of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board saw Mutapcic ingest an unknown medication, the fight was cancelled and then rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 in Vancouver, BC.
“It was one of those WTF moments,” said Taylor. “I wasn’t angry at anyone or anything, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about Elvis. I just want to fight the guy.
“I’ve been training for this guy for a while and training for the WSOF even longer because I was signed after the John Phillips fight back in May, so I’m excited that the time is coming finally.”
Against Mutapcic (13-2), Taylor (26-9) knows it’s no mystery to anyone what he wants to do in the fight, even if he feels he could hang with his opponent’s best skill.
“I need to do what I’m best at, what everyone knows I’m best at, and it’s up to (Mutapcic) to stop it,” Taylor told MMAWeekly.com.
“I’ve got a good striking game and I’m not afraid to go there with him too, but I want to get my hand raised at the end of the night, so my wrestling, grappling and ground and pound is going to be the thing to watch out for.”
Having rebuilt himself with his recent six-fight winning streak, Taylor feels this is the critical moment in his career going forward with everything that’s at stake on Dec. 7.
“Every fight is an important, but this one is definitely the biggest one of my career because it gets me (into the tournament finals),” said Taylor. “Elvis is a tough guy, but I’m ready for him. I’m going to bring my A-game and finish the year strong and want to make a statement against him too.”