Anthony Taylor 6-5 was thrown to the wolves when he began his professional mixed martial arts career. With plenty of amateur fights under his belt, it made sense to make his pro debut in Bellator back in 2015 at Bellator 147. Taylor lost that fight by submission but knew fighting professionally was his calling so he would keep answering the call because he knows the only way to become fireproof, is to be burned.
Four out of five of Taylor’s losses were due to submission and like many fighters; he took those losses as lessons and used them to fuel his passion to evolve as a martial artist. It should be noted, that the fighters he lost to have become high profile fighters in Bellator. Fighters like James Gallagher and Adam Borics both submitted Taylor and he took note of it and went back to the drawing board.
Now on a four-fight win streak that includes winning a vacant Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) title, Taylor got the call to return to Bellator 238, the first Bellator event of the year that is headlined by Cris Cyborg’s debut against current featherweight champion Julia Budd. “Excited”, is the word Taylor used to describe fighting on January 25 for Bellator and is coming back to them with renewed focus.
Speaking with The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour podcast, Taylor said his coach, Antonio McKee said, “One fight at a time,” when it comes to being back with Bellator and facing Chris Avila. Taylor says there is some history between the two based on an interaction at an event towards the end of last year but that is not something Taylor is going to allow to distract him.
With McKee and the other fighters at Team Bodyshop, Taylor’s preparation seems to have evolved. Taylor describes the training as “hell”, but knows now, that is what is necessary to compete at the level required of promotions like Bellator.
“When I first got in the game, I came in as a striker. I had no ground game when I fought Gallagher and Borics,” Taylor said of the beginning of his career. He recognized the submission losses for what they were and focused on strengthening those weaknesses so that it would not happen again. “I dedicated three years to straight grappling, hard wrestling, and just manhandling, “said Taylor.
Taylor credits McKee and the rest of the fighters at Team Bodyshop for his evolution but knows this fight with Avila is only the beginning. Taylor has never been shy about wanting to face Gallagher again but for now, continuing his win-streak at Bellator 238 is his only focus.
Bellator 238 goes down January 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, California and will air on DAZN.