Jesse Taylor’s most memorable fight nights between UFC appearances
As told by Jesse Taylor to Tony Reid
“I have a bunch of memorable fights. The first one that comes to mind is the time I flew to Russia and the Black Sea. The only people allowed in the whole venue were Russian President Vladimir Putin and a couple of these rich Russian global men. It was like a Bloodsport type of scene. They closed off the whole thing and played it on national TV. At one point, Putin came around and shook everyone’s hands. Every foreigner on the card lost that night. The only foreigner that won was me and I was the guy who was set up to lose. It was so typical for me. I took the fight on like a week notice. I ended up winning. I beat Michail Tsarev. I was so happy about the win that when Putin came by to shake hands that I brought him in for a bro hug kind of deal. The KGB were all there with AK-47s guarding him. They said I shouldn’t have done that and that they almost shot me on the spot. That was definitely a unique experience. I got to give Putin a big hug after he watched me fight. That was a super interesting experience.
“There was also the time I fought in Panama. I was already an established fighter and it was an established fight. Well, five minutes before the fight they couldn’t find my opponent. So they found, and I fought, a 350-pound security guard. He wasn’t that good but still, it was a true last minute change of opponent. And wining that fight was how I became the Panamanian Heavyweight Champion of the World. I was down there for other reasons. I actually did this fight on a total whim. It was just a crazy time and a crazy night in my career.
“There was also the time I went to Australia and fought Kendall Grove in a nightclub in Perth, Western Australia. Neither of us had corner men. I had a random Aussie in my corner. I think I might have found Soa “The Hulk” Paliei and asked him to corner me. Kendall found some random corner man, too. We had a five round war that no-one even talks about today. That was a wild fight. That was a wild night. Those are just a few that stick out to me.”