TST dominated all 3 rounds against Devorio Evans (0-1-0) on his way to a decision victory. Key to Taylor’s victory was his ability to keep the fight standing and deliver his, now signature, Flurry of Blows to crumple his opponent.
For the casual fan, Taylor’s standup and striking are pure entertainment. He throws at a volume and pace that is drawing comparisons to Nate Diaz and Colby Covington. But for the more discerning fan, TST put on a clinic in defensive wrestling that impressed even the most experienced wrestlers.
Evans, a decorated high school wrestler and D1 prospect, tried every trick in the book to bring Taylor to the mat. Taylor’s patience, composure, and preparation were evident. It’s clear that coaches Billy Dowey and John “Country” Allen, both storied grapplers, have prepared TST to compete with the best.
For fans, that means exciting strike-fests with plenty of hard hitting action. For opponents, it’s a red flag that for all the danger TST poses on the feet, his ground game may be a vicious secret weapon.
We had a chance to catch up with TST after the fight to ask him a few questions. Check out the highlights then hit the jump for our exclusive interview with TST!
What did you and your coaches do differently in preparing for this fight?
Man. Honestly we kept the game plan that “there isn’t a game plan”. Go out there and be a martial artist. It wasn’t a lot of change for this camp. I can’t really build camps around guys who are still growing and getting their experience. They might not be the same fighter today that they were 2-months ago. And you never know what a debut guy might have.
We know he’s a wrestler, but I’m a complete mixed martial artist. He has so many aspects that he has to prepare for to compete with me. We, of course, know what he’s likely to do as a wrestling guy, and having responses for those things was part of the training. But it wasn’t a big change in terms of what I’m doing in the gym every day.
So staying fundamental was key. Distance, timing. And Cardio. Our main training component was cardio as that’s my best strength. It’s the reason I’m up at 5:30 every morning getting that work in.
I’m in a position now where it’s all about being well rounded and getting better. Later, when we’re in the UFC, I can focus on specific opponents and game plans. But right now it’s about me and where I am as a fighter.
This win solidifies your #1 ranking in NC and moves you to #12 in the southeast. How does that feel?
It feels really good to be honest. Where I was 1 year ago with my wife passing away and being 330 pounds and trying to find myself, it was dark. Knowing that hard work and effort is being seen, that it’s reaching people and inspiring people feels really good.
This is solidifying my path to UFC Championship. Those ranks are part of the checklist for becoming a champion. I’m making a statement.
It’s just one aspect of what I want to do next, for me, and my team, and the fans. It feels great to show them and people like Dana White that I’m this good today. I’m only getting better and I’ll be this good and better when I’m in the UFC.
It’s also great to see that people are behind me and supporting not just me, but the people who are with me. It’s feels good and getting a taste of what it’ll be like to be number one in the UFC is great.
Being ranked number one, now I know guys are coming for me and that’s a different feeling. Knowing that guys are coming after me and I have to be prepared for that is one more motivation. I’ve got something they want, but can’t have.
You had 6 months between fights. When do you think we’ll see you back in the cage?
Looking to do title fights from here on out. At the moment, we’re in talks with Fight For It, who I fought for previously. Possibly fighting November 23rd in Hickory, NC. So put that on your calendars and start planning your car pools.
If not in November, absolutely in January or February here in Raleigh. That will be huge, not just for me, but for the fans and sponsors who haven’t been able to see me live because of how far away my fights have been.
If those both happen, that’s five wins in less than a year. Going 5-0 is a big deal, especially in this division.
After this fight I’m pro eligible, so… the timeline for me to go pro is becoming clear.
I do want the experience here at amateur for a couple more, because there’s no reset button after you go pro and are fighting the best guys in the world. I want to stay active, get in my cage time, and make sure that I feel like I’m as much myself in the cage as I am in the gym. I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet.
So in the next 6-7 weeks hopefully I’ll be back in there.
Dalton “Too Strong” Taylor is the #1 ranked amateur MMA heavyweight in North Carolina. For media and interview opportunities, contact his management team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 841-2712.