Ahead of her fight at UFC St. Louis, MMAUncaged caught up with Danielle “Dynamite” Taylor to talk about her fight with J.J. Aldrich, balancing both a law enforcement and UFC career, and more.
Congratulations on recently becoming a Sheriff’s Deputy. You’ve said in interviews that you’ve always had a passion to be a part of law enforcement, how did that start for you?
“When I first started working for the District Attorney’s office I was doing clerical work. I would see the deputies all the time and would talk to them about the job. I ended up doing a few ride alongs and fell in love with it. When I first applied they weren’t hiring for deputies so I applied to be a security officer for the sheriff’s. I did that job and that’s how I got into fighting as well. I’d never gotten into a fight in school and I wanted to learn self-defense.”
Obviously being a sheriff’s deputy is not an easy job at all. How do you find time to balance your job and still train to be at the elite level that the UFC requires?
“I just do it with no excuses. I just have a passion for what I do just as I have a passion for my job. When I’m at my job I give it 110%, and when I’m off I give it 110% in training. Yeah I gotta work full-time. I have 16 hour shifts. But if you have a passion for something and really love what you do, you’ll make time for it and make it happen. No excuses.”
Do you have a lot of fellow officers who are UFC fans and are excited to have you in the station?
“Yes, the sheriff’s department is very supportive. People I work with will support it, watch, wish me good luck so it’s a really good environment. I’m happy that I have the support of my fellow peers.”
I know that many officers will post about you on social media and are very proud to have you represent them out there. What does it mean to you to have that support because I imagine it must be very special.
“Like I said before, it really means a lot to me. In law enforcement we’re a family and these are my brothers and sisters. Just as they see I have passion for my job they see I have a passion for my second career in the UFC. To see that they genuinely support that really makes me happy.”
I want to go back to your UFC debut. You took a short notice fight against fellow up-and-comer Maryna Moroz in a close fight many felt you won. Walk me through the circumstances from getting the call, all the way to fight night.
“Well of course when I got the call I was really happy. I cried. I was in a state of shock thinking ‘It’s finally happening.’ After that I was just like ‘I gotta get ready.’ I was already in great shape but a little bit heavier than I would have been had I been training specifically for a fight because I had been doing a lot of dead lifts and stuff. So I had to cut a little bit. Not too bad, I never have a problem making weight. When I got out there, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been fighting for a little bit and usually when I get into the Octagon I feel comfortable but performing on the big stage I got nervous. It’s the same thing but it’s different because the UFC is the highest level. My nerves kicked in but every fight I get more and more comfortable out there.”
What has changed the most in your comfort level now going into your fourth UFC fight?
“I kinda know what to expect. I know what fight week is about. I’d never gone through that before: Professional photo shoots, signing the posters, doing little interviews here and there. Seeing other fighters, people I’d seen on tv, and here they are in person. Now I’m more comfortable with it. I know what to expect.”
Now being in the UFC, do you have a particular card you’d like to be on or a particular star whose undercard you want to be a part of?
“Beggars can’t be choosers. I’m happy to be on this card. It’s the first one of the year and I want to start my year off right in 2018. Handle business, get in there and do what I gotta do, get this victory, and get ready for the next one. Whatever card they put me on, I’m happy to be on there.”
In your last fight you defeated Jessica Penne who was ranked #15 in the division but you did not take her place in the standings. Do you feel that will change with a win over Aldrich?
“I’m hoping so. I’m willing to do whatever it takes and fight whoever I need to fight to get into the rankings. That’s my plan: break into the fifteen, break into the ten, then work my way to a title shot.”
What do you think should be next for the title in the division? Do you think it should be a rematch for Joanna or should another top contender get their shot next?
“I think the next person in line should get a shot. It’s only fair. Whoever is number one or number two should get a shot at the title. I think that’s how it should go, but I’m not in charge of those decisions. If she (Joanna) gets another fight and she destroys her then yes, of course give her another shot. If they give it to her right off the bat, that’s good for her. I’m not gonna hate.”
How do you evaluate J.J. Aldrich as an opponent? She is another fighter who will have the height and reach advantage but you have more professional experience. How do you think that will factor into the fight?
“She’s a pretty well-rounded fighter. She’s a southpaw and I can tell she has pretty good striking. Even though she has a little bit less experience, I’m not going to say ‘oh I should have a huge edge.’ I just gotta be cautious like everyone else. With height and stuff, I’m used to fighting people taller than me. That’s nothing new. I’ve never fought anybody my height. That’s a normal thing. I think it’s going to be a really good match. I’ve been training really hard, I’m sure she’s been training really hard, and I’m ready to put on a good show.”
Finally, what is your prediction for how you’ll win the fight?
“I want to finish it. But of course, you have to take whatever comes. My intention, I would love to finish it. I’ve been training really hard, I’ve been doing whatever I have to do. My cardio is feeling really good right now. Hopefully I can get a finish. It’s been awhile since I had a finish and I need to bring that Danielle Taylor back. End it quick, get in, get out, and get on with my life.”
Danielle “Dynamite” Taylor will fight J.J. Aldrich at UFC St. Louis: Stephens vs Choi on January 14.