WATCH | Danielle Taylor's unique pathway to professional fighting
Danielle Taylor takes a break during her 16-hour shift at the North County Correctional Facility.
Measuring in at just 5 feet tall, a typical day for the diminutive Danielle Taylor would floor the average person. When she’s not working as a custody assistant at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, California, she’s balancing a busy training schedule as a professional fighter in the strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). But that's why they call her dynamite.
Taylor awaits instruction as her coach calls out combinations.
The way I fell into the fighting was getting into law enforcement
Though currently preparing for her third fight within the organization, Taylor didn’t always dream of being in the ring. “I never thought I would be a fighter, but I did envision being a cop,” Taylor explained.
Danielle Taylor takes a moment to discuss her background in law enforcement.
A new environmentIn 2010, Taylor began working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a security officer and quickly decided for personal safety to begin practicing some basic forms of self-defense. After her father recommended she attend a boxing gym in Palmdale, California, Taylor began training regularly.
Gallery: Training day
Starting with “a little bit of grappling, wrestling and jiu jitsu," Taylor realized that she had a knack for the physical components and began “growing a passion and a love for the sport." My old coach then "asked me if I wanted to fight,” she recalled.
She had some reservations and contemplated her mother’s concern that she'd be "hit in the face.” But Taylor eventually decided to give it a try.
Taylor loosens up before a conditioning session.
“I loved it and I wanted to keep growing and improving,” she exclaimed. She expanded her skills and eventually went on to fight in the mixed martial arts promotion, King of the Cage.
Gallery: King of the CageCompeting as a strawweight, Taylor ultimately fought her way to become the champion of the division, but in the middle of a five-fight winning streak, she lost the belt in her first title-defense fight against Jamie Colleen. After that setback, Danielle refocused and won her next two fights, including the rematch with Colleen in which she regained her title as the King of the Cage strawweight champ.
Danielle Taylor wins the King of the Cage Strawweight title.
Prioritizing passionToday, as a strawweight in the UFC, Taylor continues juggling the responsibilities of her intense training schedule and full-time work as a custody assistant. Her days are jam-packed, but it’s a routine she’s willing to endure. “I just have a passion for the sport. I love what I do. If you love something, you make time for it,” Taylor explained.
Gallery: Team Dynamite A team of expertsTaylor enlists a team of various coaches to help her prepare both mentally and physically for her battles inside the octagon. Working with a dedicated group of jiu jitsu specialists, wrestling experts, experienced strikers and a strength and conditioning trainer, Taylor has structured supportive team to help guide her throughout her journey in the UFC.
Danielle trains at night, maintaining focus after a long day of work.
This is something I've always wanted to do...I want to keep growing and eventually I want to get that belt.
As she prepares for her upcoming bout with the 14th ranked strawweight, Taylor's team will amp up the intensity as fight camp kicks into full gear. The upcoming battle will be an opportunity for her to get one step closer to her goal.