EXCLUSIVE | Louis Taylor explains why $1M PFL title win was so important for his career

Louis Taylor
Image: Louis Taylor on Instagram

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) seasonal format offers a unique alternative to the matchmaking style used by other major promotions like the UFC and Bellator. Season one middleweight champ Louis Taylor took full advantage of this format.

The inaugural season of the PFL concluded on New Year’s Eve with the promotion handing out six million-dollar checks. It was the picture perfect way for Taylor to close out the best year of his career.

“Everything is good,” Taylor told BJPenn.com in a recent interview. “2019 is just getting started but 2018 was a great year. Probably one of the greatest years I’ve had in my life and definitely the greatest I’ve had in my MMA career.”

Taylor, 39, has been at this MMA thing for a while. He is 2-0 in Bellator and was supposed to make his UFC debut against Uriah Hall in 2015. However, due to timing, Taylor never got his shot in the Octagon.

When asked if winning the PFL middleweight championship and the associated million-dollar prize validated his career as a whole, Taylor said: “You know it does.”

“Unfortunately a lot of people think you’re not good unless you’re in the UFC. And that’s just the way people look at fighters outside of the UFC. The reality is that there is so much competition outside of the UFC.”

“The media literally didn’t rank [Justin] Gaethje, they didn’t rank [Marlon] Moraes, they didn’t rank [David] Branch,” he continued.” “But the minute these guys got to the UFC, oh now they’re top-five guys. My last loss was against Branch. So how can I fight a guy, almost submit him three times. Fight him for five rounds and not be one of the best in the world?”

It’s fair to say that Taylor will be on the radar of many more MMA fans now that he has announced his arrival in such a big way. His middleweight finale showdown with Abusupiyan Magomedov went about as well as it possibly could have, as he won the fight with a 33-second knockout.

He says that’s just how he expected it to go down.

“Honestly, I did, I did,” he said. “It was something I thought about. But at the same time, I got it out of my head. It was my first thought but I also put it behind me just as fast as it was my first thought. Because you have to train, not for the knock out for one, but you have to mentally prepare for a war.”

Taylor’s is one of the feel-good stories from the first season of the PFL. Some fans have speculated that Taylor will now walk off into the sunset and call it a career. However, it seems Taylor has other ideas.

“For me, it makes no sense to raise my stock as high as I have and walk off,” he said. “I want to raise my stock and make more money.”

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/6/19.