Olympic gold medalist David Taylor ‘considers’ potential move to MMA, but 2024 games take priority


For the first time, Olympic gold medalist David Taylor is considering a potential move to MMA.

After attending UFC 281 Last Saturday, the 31-year-old former Penn State said fighting was something he might want to explore.

It’s not something Taylor would have said a few years ago. Although no decision has been made, he is intrigued by the possibility, especially knowing how much his wrestling pedigree could help him make the transition.

“I think in the sport of wrestling, I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish,” Taylor explained on MMA hour. “Winning a second Olympic gold medal in Paris in 2024 is a top priority.

“But if I want to continue to be the best combat athlete ever, getting into the octagon is something that should happen. Is it going to happen? I don’t know yet, but I’m thinking about it more than ever before.

Taylor is widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the United States after winning a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics. He is also a three-time World Championship gold medalist in addition to two NCAA championships. and became a four-time All-American at Penn State.

That said, Taylor understands that wrestling isn’t a fight, which is part of why he doesn’t just jump into the sport headfirst without thinking about his long-term future.

“If that’s the step I want to take, you understand what you’re up against,” Taylor said. “You understand that people have been doing this all their lives. This is not a joke.

“It’s a livelihood. It’s a job, but I’ve competed at the highest level all my life and when it comes to being a competitor, I get better every time. It’s just a question of whether it’s a decision that I make, it will be the best. It could be something really exciting, but again, it’s a different world. There are certainly different risks assessed with this, but there are also a lot of rewards.

Wrestling has arguably served as the best foundation for learning MMA with a long list of champions and top contenders coming out of the discipline.

As much as wrestling might give him the perfect launch pad to get into the fight, Taylor acknowledges that there’s no way to really prepare for the kind of damage that can be inflicted in MMA, and that’s very different from his current favorite sport.

“From a combat sports perspective, wrestlers can make that transition and very well,” Taylor said. “But it’s definitely a different path. You have an understanding when you walk in an arena, some people will celebrate with their families, some will go to the hospital. In wrestling, this is not the case. In the worst case, you are shot, you are beaten. You are not beaten. Your ego hurts, you are frustrated but you regroup and you can fight the next day if you want.

“Fighting is a different world with that stuff. I think it definitely takes a different mentality and having a very clear goal for those who decide to go down this path.

If Taylor enters the US Olympic team at the 2024 Games in Paris, he will only be months away from his 34th birthday, meaning time will not be on his side if he chooses to pursue a career in the mma.

There are certainly examples of fighters who transitioned into MMA at a later age; two-time Olympian Daniel Cormier at the top of this list of names. But even then, Cormier moved into action at the age of 31, giving him a three-year advantage over Taylor.

Taylor has no doubt he could make an impact in the sport if that’s the career path he chooses. But he won’t know anything for sure until 2024.

“Wrestling is an amazing sport, but it’s a niche sport,” Taylor said. “While MMA is something that’s seen all over the world. I think your competitive juices are flowing. Like OK, it’s kind of next level. It’s exciting.

“As a competitor you want to strive and you want to be the best. In wrestling I’ve done that. Now how many times can you keep doing that? I could see if that was a path that I had chosen, it’s something new and exciting. It’s a new task. It’s something new. You can be invigorated. You were chasing after greatness and it’s something that keeps me going. ‘interested.

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