Olympic Champion David Taylor Considers MMA Move; Daniel Cormier Advises to Stick to Wrestling

David Taylor, a gold medalist from the 2020 Olympic Games, is considering a move to MMA after competing for a spot on the 2024 U.S. Olympic wrestling team, potentially becoming the third American wrestler to win two gold medals.

David Taylor is on the brink. He’s only days away from vying for a spot on the 2024 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. He’s already got a gold from the 2020 Games under his belt. If things go smoothly, he’s on track to join the ranks of John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner. They’re the only two American wrestlers who’ve ever bagged two golds.

But there’s more to Taylor’s story. He’s a 33-year-old Penn State alum with a potential MMA career on the horizon. He first hinted at this possibility back in 2022. It’s not forgotten.

“That door’s not closed,” he said to MMA Fighting. He’s intrigued by the idea. But right now, his eyes are on the Olympic prize. If he clinches that, it’s time for a rethink. MMA is something he finds fascinating. Wrestlers often chat about it, seeking the hype. But for Taylor, it’s more than talk. He’s invested time in training this past year.

He’s trained at Factory X with coach Marc Montoya. He loved it. He sees the potential in combining his folkstyle wrestling and mat wrestling with MMA. He believes it could work. But it’s not a topic to be taken lightly. The MMA arena is full of formidable opponents. His wrestling success won’t guarantee instant MMA triumph. But if he’s got the passion to make the switch, he believes he can make it work. He thinks about it every day.

Taylor’s also a three-time World Wrestling Championships winner. If he steps into MMA, he’d be one of the most exciting prospects ever to consider fighting. Especially if he bags a second Olympic gold.

In the UFC’s top tier, only a few Olympic medalists have fought for the promotion. Henry Cejudo, a former two-division champion, is one of them. But Taylor’s wrestling achievements outshine Cejudo’s record.

Taylor’s wrestling prowess is impressive. He made the 2020 Olympic team after defeating former Penn State teammate and rising UFC star Bo Nickal. He won two matches with scores of 6-0 and 4-0.

Taylor finds the idea of fighting exhilarating. He’s definitely interested. Whether he goes all in or takes a single fight, he’s keen.

He knows wrestling is the best foundation for MMA. He’s seen it himself. Numerous All-American wrestlers and Olympic hopefuls have made a significant impact in fighting. He believes he could do the same. But it all depends on his drive to compete at the highest level.

He’s always told himself, as long as the fire’s there, he can keep achieving. But when the fire dims, he’ll know it’s time to step back. He admits there are days when the fire is just a smolder. It’s tough. He’s got a family now. It’s not as easy as it used to be. But the thrill of competition, the feeling of imposing his will, scoring as many points as he wants, that’s incredible. He still has the fire for that.

He’s in a place where he could walk away from the sport at any time and hold his head high. He’s achieved more than he ever thought possible. But he believes he can still do great things. As long as the fire’s still burning, and he’s hungry, healthy, and fit, he doesn’t think he’ll lose.

But not everyone shares Taylor’s enthusiasm for a potential MMA career. Two-time Olympian and UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier isn’t convinced it’s the right move for him.

Cormier’s always argued that top U.S. wrestlers should stick with wrestling. They need to prepare the next generation of athletes. Plus, he knows from personal experience that fighting is tough. It’s not for everyone.

Two other Olympic gold medalists, Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs, considered MMA. But they both decided to stick with wrestling. Cormier thinks Taylor should probably do the same.

“I love David, but David better stick to wrestling,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “He’s too much of a wrestler and David’s a nice guy. You have to be a little crazy to fight and David’s as nice as they come. I had dinner with David in New York the last time he went [to the Olympics] and he never mentioned anything about fighting.

“If he does [fight], I think he would do well because of his background, but this dude is doing fine. Make your money in wrestling. Stay away from this.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -