Recent Texas transplant Lauren Taylor, will make her Invicta debut April 5th, at Invicta FC 5, stepping in for an injured Amanda Nunes, against Kaitlin Young.
Coming off a dominant win less than a month ago, Taylor had no hesitation in accepting the fight on less than three weeks notice. Confident and fit, Taylor accepted the honor of fighting Women’s MMA pioneer Kaitlin Young in order to prove that she belongs among the best at 135lbs.
Corey Smith: How did you first enter into the world of mixed martial arts? How long had you been formally training before your first fight?
Lauren Taylor: I took my son to a Jiu Jitsu class in late 2009, and I took the class with him to encourage him. I fell in love with it and started going all the time. I began training MMA about 3 months later, and took my first pro fight 3 months after that. I did not have any amateur fights.
CS: What aspects of mixed martial arts do you enjoy training the most? What aspects take more mental strength to train?
LT: I enjoy different aspects on different days, usually I enjoy whatever I am doing well that day, haha. I’m kidding… sort of. I think the thing that consistently takes the most for me to get okay with mentally is dieting while in a fight camp. I like to eat!
CS: You trained at a Gracie Barra affiliate in your native Alaska, and now train at a Gracie Barra affiliate in Houston, TX. The Gracie name is more than familiar to mixed martial arts fan. Where does the Barra come from?
LT: It’s my understanding that the first Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy operated by Carlos Gracie Jr., was opened in a town called Barra de Tujica. So it was called Gracie Barra. Why we continue to call them ‘Gracie Barra’, and not Gracie Katy or Gracie Anchorage or whatever, I suppose you’d have to ask Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
CS: You are coming off a dominant win on March 1st, yet it was a win in which you were not completely satisfied with your performance. What did you see in your performance that left you feeling like you could have competed better?
LT: I felt like it took me a minute to get back in the groove of being in the cage. Actually it took about two minutes, and then I was back in the swing of things, so to speak. I hope that doesn’t happen again.
LT: It had been a while since I fought last, and the feeling of dancing with someone who is trying to hurt you took a second to readjust to. I also did a few things in that fight that can certainly be capitalized on by a smart opponent, which Kaitlin is.
LT: I know everyone has at least one bad habit, but I don’t like having any, and I may even have several, so the sooner I fix those the better off I will be.
CS: On April 5th, it will be a little more than a month since your last bout. Were there any concerns about fighting again so quickly?
LT: Only that we did not have time to train specifically for Kaitlin like my coaches and I would have preferred. But we still had a good solid two and a half weeks to drill some things that I would like to do, and they are not things that I have never seen before, so it’s not a situation I am panicking about.
LT: I mean, you can’t have it all and there are always things I would have ‘preferred’ go differently in a fight camp. Other than that, it’s really kind of nice. I enjoy being the underdog, I have less time to worry. I am still in good shape and injury free. I think the major concern taking last minute fights is whether your conditioning is on point, and I believe mine will be.
CS: This will mark your debut with Invicta FC, how has your experience been like so far with the company?
LT: It’s been incredible. I am excited to fight for them. I actually signed a multi fight contract with them way back in October or so, so this isn’t the first time I have heard from them.
LT: It seems like a lot of promotions care very little for their fighters, especially the female ones, because they are more concerned about having fights and putting on a show and building up certain fighters, than they are about the well-being of the fighters themselves. Invicta has not been like that. They are dedicated to the athletes.
CS: You are stepping in for an injured Amanda Nunes to face Women’s MMA pioneer, Kaitlin Young at Invicta FC 5. How do you expect the fight to go?
LT: I think it’s going to be a great fight. Kaitlin obviously has more experience. She was fighting MMA before I even knew what MMA was, so it’s really an honor to compete with her. I believe I have the ability to beat her, although I don’t believe it will be easy.
LT: I don’t know if I will beat her, necessarily, but I certainly can. She clearly also has the ability to beat me, and will also be looking for a finish, so I think it will be a fantastic fight. She’s very tough. In my mind, it’s going to be a war.
CS: On the subject of injuries, how do you maintain a full force training schedule but also guard against overtraining and injuries?
LT: That’s a great question, haha. When someone figures it out, please tell me! For me, regarding overtraining, I honestly try not to think too much in fight camp- I let my coaches do that.
LT: They are the brains and I’m the brawn, and up to this point, it’s worked out well. So we sit down and make a schedule and I follow it, no matter how I feel. They do check in with me frequently to see how I am feeling and we can always adjust if needed, but for the most part I just train my ass off.
LT: They can tell when I am pushed past my limit and sometimes they push me even further and sometimes they let me rest. I may or may not keep a Z pack on hand to treat passing colds that come my way.
LT: As far as injuries, I have been blessed not to have had many. That may just be dumb luck, but I’ll take it. I did hurt my foot once right before a fight, but it was a freak accident and not from overtraining.
CS: After a long day of training camp, what helps you to unwind and recharge?
LT: When I’m in camp, away from home, it’s talking to my boyfriend. He’s been a huge source of inspiration to me. I call him all the time to pick his brain, get encouragement, vent, or just listen to someone besides my own voice in my own head.
LT: He believes in me and loves me no matter if I win or lose, and it’s so important for me to have that. When I’m not in camp, and I’m with him, it’s a hug, a movie, and a good meal. Like I said, I like to eat.
CS: What is your mood like on fight night? Do you have any superstitions or routines that you have to perform?
LT: I love fight night! I get very giddy and excited. Of course I get nervous, but it’s the kind of nervous you feel when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re just going up that first hill, and you can feel the cars going over the edge and you’re about to plummet into a wild ride, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s how fight night feels, haha!
LT: I have been doing away with superstitions. I used to have several, but one by one, they were kind of taken away from me with each fight, and I still won dominantly; So I had to face the fact that superstitions are something that make me feel better mentally, not a real thing, and that I don’t really need them. Things will go just fine even if I don’t wear my lucky underwear or whatever.
CS: Inside the cage, how do you prefer to be coached? Whose voice stands out above the others among your corners?
LT: My coach Pat Applegate stands out to me the most, although I do hear my other corners. I do hear different stuff sometimes that kind of amuses me in each fight. Sometimes I hear the audience, or my opponent’s corner telling them what to do, and it always makes me think, ‘Huh. That’s interesting.’
CS: How much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment? Are there any fighters in particular that you are a fan of?
LT: I watch MMA all the time. I mean, ALL. THE. TIME. I love it. One of my all-time favorites is Forrest Griffin. I also like Anderson Silva (who doesn’t?) because I think that dude may actually be from another planet, that’s how good he is.
LT: And Frankie Edgar. Actually now that I am thinking about it, I am a fan of too many fighters to really list here. So I will say, I’m a fan of Sarah Kaufman. And Chael Sonnen. And Julie Kedzie. And Joe Murphy. And Jose Aldo. And…
CS: When you aren’t training or fighting, what types of activities do you participate in solely for fun?
LT: I love to read, and go to the beach (only since moving to Florida, though. The beaches in my home state are awful). I like to cook and bake. I am a people person and I like being around good friends.
LT: It drives me crazy to be alone, I can’t do that for too long. I also like to spend money, if I wasn’t so broke all the time, I could see myself turning into a shop-aholic. The warning signs are all there.
CS: Lastly, MMA is as much a team sport as it is an individual one. Who would you like to thank?
LT: Oooh I have a lot. My team at GB Katy first and foremost. The athletes and coaches there are amazing and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
LT: My Fight Shop here in Houston for providing me with great gear. Airrosti rehab centers for keeping me healthy. Centurion BJJ in Panama City, and all my team mates there. Coach Rey at NLA Katy for making me a beast and Paul Moran as well, those guys know their stuff and keep me in great shape.
LT: FOR SURE I want to thank each and every person who donated to Pimp My Fight, your donations have made possible an incredible training camp, and will carry me on into the next one as well. Joe, Aurora and Jen for being so damn awesome, and my mom. I love you mom!