Danielle Taylor spoke with MyMMANews ahead of her fight against Jessica Aguilar in the co-main event of Xtreme Fighting Championship 43 on November 11th.
It is safe to say that Danielle Taylor lost track of time as she was genuinely surprised to hear how much of it had passed between now and her last fight. She last fought at Invicta FC: Phoenix Series 1, where she lost by way of unanimous decision to Juliana Lima in May 2019, so it has been well over a year since her last appearance.
Like many fighters, the extended time away from competition was brought about due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that has not stopped Taylor from training. In fact, she never really stopped. Despite shutdowns beginning early in her home state of California, Taylor quickly adjusted to the circumstances and ensured that she could continue on with her regular schedule.
Now, she is ready to make her return.
“It has been some time since the last time I competed, but I feel like what kind of put a little wrench in it was the whole COVID-19 and all that stuff,” Taylor told MyMMANews. “Nonetheless, I’ve been training. I’ve been training a lot and I’m super excited to be fighting for XFC. I don’t know what to really say besides I’ve been working and training like crazy. I’m excited to show everybody November 11th.”
Taylor has been tapped to take on fellow UFC veteran Jessica Aguilar on Nov. 11 in the co-main event of Xtreme Fighting Championship 43, which will be broadcast live for the first time on NBC Sports. This will be her promotional debut, and although her appearance under the XFC banner brings about new opportunities for Taylor, it does not signify the end of her run with Invicta FC. Taylor will continue to fight for the promotion, but the chance to compete for XFC was something she could not pass up.
“I’m still with Invicta,” said Taylor. “I love that promotion as well, but XFC gave me an opportunity and of course, I had to check with Invicta to make sure it was okay to take this fight. They were happy to let me take this fight, so no bad blood. I’m still with Invicta. I want to be their champion. I want to be XFC’s champion. I’m just here trying to collect a bunch of belts and make my way back to the UFC.”
The blueprint could not be more clear for Taylor, who is ready to go on her belt collecting journey, but she must get past a game Aguilar. Aguilar has been around in the mixed martial arts world for years and has seen every kind of fight possible, so planning for such a well-rounded foe may be somewhat difficult for Taylor.
However, Taylor is up for the challenge and is actually very excited to take on a name like Aguilar.
“I’m very excited,” said Taylor. “I feel like it’s an excellent matchup. I watched a few of her videos, and yeah. She’s been around in the game for a while and I respect that. She’s been there and she’s a UFC veteran as well and I just feel like we’re gonna put an awesome show on.”
Taylor is the underdog heading into the fight against Aguilar, but it is not an unknown position she finds herself in. There have been a number of fights throughout her career where Taylor was overlooked and viewed as the underdog, but she silenced anyone who believed so with an outstanding performance.
Proving people wrong is something Taylor enjoys doing, so if she has to do that again against Aguilar, then she will. After all, she is here to remind you why she goes by the name “Dynamite”.
“I love it. I feed off that stuff. You can count me out and put me as an underdog. I’m just gonna prove everybody wrong. I have never been one to be like, ‘I need the spotlight’ because my skill will show its way through that.”
If she defeats Aguilar, Taylor hopes to remain as active as possible. She has some work to do in the strawweight division, so she wants to put in the work necessary to establish herself as a true contender at 115 pounds. Ultimately, a second shot in the UFC is something she really wants, but she does not want to rush herself into getting one.
“I guess the short-term plan is working my way up these divisions,” said Taylor. “I know it takes time to get back to certain things and I’m not in a rush. I’m 30 about to be 31 and I still feel very youthful. I’m in love with the sport and I like to take baby steps and I’m gonna work my way back. From Invicta to XFC getting those belts and just keep doing what I need to do.”
Outside of being a mixed martial artist, Taylor also holds another demanding job. Long before mixed martial arts became a constant in her life, Taylor knew she wanted to be in law enforcement — a deputy sheriff to be exact.
She started working towards becoming one, and continued to do so despite taking on MMA around the same time, but the balance between the two jobs is something that came easily to Taylor. The reason she was able to handle both MMA and law enforcement at the same time is simple. Her passion kept her from choosing one over the other.
“I have a passion for both and I’ve always wanted to be a deputy sheriff,” said Taylor. “I wanted to be involved in law enforcement and I feel like I love fighting because it’s my everything, but I know there’s an expiration date as well. So, you always gotta look forward to the future like retirement, benefits and all that stuff. But of course, enjoy the moment and enjoy what you love to do. It’s awesome to be able to have both.”
Whether she is fighting inside of a cage or working out on the field, Taylor maintains the same mindset: it’s time to work.