While most people celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends, Louis Taylor spent his evening becoming a millionaire.
The 39-year-old captured the Professional Fighters League middleweight title with a 33-second knockout win over Abus Magomedov. Taylor grew up a Bulls basketball fan living in Chicago and sees similarities to his win and Michael Jordan sinking a game-winning shot during his career.
“In your mind as a fighter that’s how you always want your fights to go.” Taylor explained.
“You dream about Michael Jordan, in basketball you have that game winning buzzer shot. For me that was probably the equivalent to a buzzer beater if I was playing ball. You do dream about it throwing one punch and the fight being over. But at the same time you keep reality, this is a five round championship fight. If you dream too long it will make you soft. You mentally want to do things and make plans. I never looked too far ahead. I wanted to make sure I secured the bag first. I had dreams I wanted to do. I wanted to make sure I secured it first before I got overzealous.”
Taylor (18-4-1) emerged as the dark horse this PFL season to take home the middleweight championship. He defeated Anderson Gonçalves, Andre Lobato, Rex Harris and went to a draw with John Howard before winning the tournament. Taylor feels vindicated with the win, however still has critics questioning his Cinderella run in the tournament.
“I do feel vindicated. I know the bullseye is going to be on my back. No matter what I do people will think its luck. There’s people sitting around now thinking [my win] was luck. Keep counting me out, I’ll keep counting these check. All those sacrifices and all those prayers came to fruition. I’m sure [PFL] didn’t see it that way and it was a historic moment.”
The Chicago Fight Team product’s stock has never been higher and while he just competed five times this year, he’s looking to get back in the cage soon. While other organizations may look to snag him up, don’t expect to see him link up with the UFC anytime soon.
“I don’t really know [what’s next], there might be a window [to sign with another organizations] The ball is in [PFL’s] court. I’m more than happy with them. The UFC has been my dream but the UFC didn’t believe in me. PFL did. UFC had plenty of opportunity to put food on my plate and they didn’t. I’m not going to jump ship just because my name got a little bigger. Belal [Muhammad] fights Jan. 19 at the Barclays Center. I’m down to fight soon. Of course if they do the same format I won’t be able to fight until May which is a good break. I’m revved up, if I was in a different predicament I’d want to fight in 2-3 months and I train five rounds. It only went a couple of seconds, so I’m ready to fight. I’m still ready for that war, I could take it if it was on the table.”