BIRMINGHAM, England -- MMAWeekly.com caught up with a surprisingly chilled Paul Taylor on the eve of his encounter with tough MMA veteran Chris Lytle at UFC 89. For the Briton this fight is business like any other and he knows that Lytle has the same mindset. They are both hard chargers who love to throw leather, both have seen their fair shares of wars, and that's what he is banking on.
"I am really looking forward to this fight with Chris. I respect him, he's a great fighter, but I want a war. I don't like to go out there and have a quick fight. Win, lose or draw I want to feel like I have been in war at the end of it," he stated emphatically.
For many in the U.K., Taylor has been a staple of the welterweight division since joining the promotion, but things may not always stay that way. He sees this fight as being a benchmark for himself and the results will dictate if he makes a move to the 155-pound division or continues campaigning at 170 pounds. "I feel comfortable at 170, but if I get my arse handed to me I may consider the cut to 155. It all depends on how I show, but ultimately it's a mixed bag. I am probably one of the tall guys in this division, but I am not necessarily a big guy here. My body type prevents that as I find it hard to pack on the muscle. This means I compensate on technical ability, speed, and movement."
Taylor has changed his approach to making weight of late and finds that he is best suited to walking around close to his fighting weight. This means he can concentrate on cardio without having the variable of a bad cut affecting his gas tank. If he decides to move to 155 pounds, won't negate the benefits associated with walk around weight? "It might, but it's something I will look at when the needs arise. It's all about longevity. There is a better chance of making a name for yourself at 155, but more chance of being active at 170.
"I look at it like a business. Marcus Davis has fought 12 times and not hit title contention. He gets paid well for it, and racks up the bonuses with knockout, sub and fight of the night bonuses. To me that's a smart businessman."
He has a point. A fighter's career is dictated by the opportunities he has presented to him and the ability his body has to undertake the task at hand. There is no pension plan in MMA, no long term picture, what you achieve now you need to support you in the latter years of your life.
"I look at people like Ken Shamrock fighting into his 40s dropping fights to guys he would have spanked 10 years ago. I saw James Thompson look like he was beating his dad up when he fought Dan Severn, and I know that won't be me in there. I have to put things in place for my future," he explains, pondering for a second before adding with a laugh, "the way my body is now, I can't see it lasting until I am in my 40s and still fighting, unless they want to see me in a Jerry Springer type cage fight with my wheel chair at 45."
"I feel I have been very lucky," says Taylor of his ride with the UFC thus far. "I have always had things drop into my lap. If I have been out of work, the next day something comes in. It's just the way things have gone. I am surrounded by good people in my life and it's all worked out well."
If you consider that Taylor made his way to the UFC without going through The Ultimate Fighter mill, you begin to wonder what the tryouts will bring when they touch down next week in London.
"I will be there with three very tough guys from our camp -- Eugene, Tom and Nick -- in order to show them what we have here in England," he said. "A lot of American fighters underestimate our BJJ and wrestling, but I think we have something different, a never say die British fighting spirit. We don't just fight for the win, we throw caution to the wind to entertain and we bang hard." Look for Paul Taylor and Chris Lytle to do exactly that at UFC 89 on Saturday night as this fight has all the hallmarks of a barnstormer.