July 19, 2008 was the last time Jesse Taylor lost a fight.
Since his devastating loss at Ultimate Fight Night 16, Taylor has managed to stay extremely busy. With a 7-0 record since his final fight with the UFC, Taylor has worked his way into the Strikeforce organization, as he replaces Nick Diaz on Saturday’s card.
Taylor’s opponent is Jay Hieron.
The card originally slated Diaz to take on Joe Riggs for the Strikeforce lwelterweight belt, but now that each of the original fighters are off of the card, the bout no longer is of title proportions. This is something Taylor does not agree with.
“I still think this fight should be for a belt,” stated Taylor. “It kind of sucks for Jay because he was fighting for a belt, then all of a sudden he’s not fighting for a belt just because they brought me in. I think I earned it.”
Now that a belt no longer goes to the winner of this bout, the fight undoubtedly is a battle for the number one spot on the list for a title shot. Taylor realizes this and explained his appreciation for the opportunity.
“It’s an awesome opportunity. I want to be tested in this sport. Jay (Hieron) is a great test.”
Through his time jumping from one organization to another, Taylor has yet to face consistently challenging opponents. A contract with Strikeforce guarantees a higher level of competition along with being a better, more secure organization to fight for.
A win over Hieron will once again bring Jesse Taylor into the spotlight; only this time it will be under better circumstances than his “Ultimate Fighter” days.
For now, Taylor’s path towards success in mixed martial arts continues with a win over Jay Hieron or is abruptly stopped with a loss. However, “JT Money” just wants to show the viewers and his organization what he is all about.
“I just gotta show the world and Strikeforce that I am ready for a belt.”
A win over Jay Hieron will do just that.
While he may enter this fight as the underdog, don’t try to explain that to him. Jesse Taylor will enter the octagon with the utmost confidence in his abilities, saying his "hand is going to be raised any way possible" at the end of the fight.
Taylor will fight Hieron on Saturday, August 15 with the thought of victory, a future shot at the lightweight belt, and a successful stint in Strikeforce on his mind.