Mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Jesse Taylor captured ultimate redemption last night (Fri., July 7, 2017) at TUF 25 Finale live on FOX Sports 1 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, when he submitted Dhiego Lima via rear-naked choke to claim Ultimate Fighter rights. The 34-year-old journeyman looked absolutely dominant as he controlled the Brazilian from the opening bell before finding his opening for a finish early into the second round.
Taylor’s efforts were admirable, especially considering he was facing a guy in Lima who has already fought under the bright lights of the Octagon. Still, “JT Money” was not surprised by the outcome of his suffocating efforts.
“I think it was a pretty perfect fight,” Taylor said during a backstage interview with UFC’s Megan Olivi (shown above). “I do what I always do. But I think it goes to say that I keep going, I’m a grinder. I’m not going to stop. Again, it’s still kind of surreal to me. Kind of feels like a dream. Maybe it’s the punch to the head that makes it feel like a dream.
“There’s nothing that could stop me. Dhiego would have had to kill me or severely knock me out to stop me.”
Remember, Taylor punched his ticket to compete in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 before drunkenly kicking the window out of a limousine door and getting booted from the reality show entirely. The submission expert was not going to let another opportunity slip through his hands when he found out about Ultimate Fighter: Redemption.
“Once I found out about the show it was my show to win,” Taylor said. “The story was mine and I lived up to it, thank God. I wanted this more than anything in the world. I truly did.”
With his first UFC victory officially in the books, Taylor is hoping to take a little break to spend some time with his family. But once that mini hiatus is over, the newly-crowned TUF winner is aiming to quickly climb the welterweight ladder towards UFC gold.
“I do want a little time off,” Taylor explained. “Saying that, I called this the end of one journey and the beginning of a next. I want to make a run for it. I think 170 has a lot of sharks, but at the same time I think there’s no star power. I think it could be open for the taking if I have a couple of more good performances. I could very well get the belt. That’s my goal; to take it for the full ride and go for that belt.”
For more TUF 25 Finale results and coverage click here.