Amateur MMA fighter Liv Taylor is back among the action at Rise and Conquer 11 after undergoing a period of inactivity.
Recharged and ready to go, Liv promises those attending can expect a much more matured and improved version of herself. Her last outing occurred at the back end of 2019, where she secured her third competitive win as an amateur, defeating Nina Reid by unanimous decision.
Before Liv Taylor meets Federica Di Filippo on October 1st in the Rainton Arena, we had the pleasure of catching up with her to get her pre-fight thoughts. Read the full interview below.
Interview With Liv Taylor
A few weeks out from fight night at Rise and Conquer. Talk to me about how you’re feeling physically and mentally ahead of your bout with Federica Di Filippo.
I can’t wait for this fight. I’m just ready to go now. Physically and mentally, this is the best I have ever felt going into a fight. The time I have had away from fighting made me realise I definitely was fighting some demons mentally that I have overcome and feel so mentally tough now. Physically I feel as though this is the greatest and strongest condition I have been in, and skillset-wise, since my last fight. I have made so many improvements that I just can’t wait to show.
You make your return after a few years of layoffs. How good does it feel to be preparing to fight once again, and was there any particular reason for the period of inactivity?
It honestly feels amazing to be back preparing for a fight. If I’m honest, it feels mad to think I had that long layoff, as it really doesn’t feel like it. It may be as if I took a break away from fighting but not training; I was still training. Life just got in the way, obviously covid for a good part of the time! Then I got back to training a few months in.
I unfortunately, suffered from a bad knee injury which put me out of training mma for a while and then I had to ease myself back in! I planned to fight earlier this year on the previous rise and conquer actually, but I had to pull out from my fight due to health issues, and then I then thought about getting matched for summer, but I had a few holidays booked, and I wanted to give my full attention and all to this next fight.
Liv Taylor Talks Women’s MMA
Touching on Women’s MMA in the UK. It was always an odd conversation to have several years ago. It wasn’t talked about and almost frowned upon for women to be walking into an MMA gym. How important is that change we’ve seen, and is it something you’ve noticed yourself that a lot of younger women have the confidence to walk into MMA gyms in the UK? It won’t be long before females from the UK start breaking through and competing at the sport’s highest level.
The change is great. I am so happy how many females are getting into MMA, jiu-jitsu, wrestling etc. I remember when I first started out years ago, I would have no girls to train with, a maximum of one if I was lucky! Now I have three female training partners at my gym: Katrina King, Simone Abley and Lanchana Green. Then I have a huge bunch of girls up in Scotland who I train and spar with too. It’s honestly amazing to see so many girls training now, and it builds a community of us. We’re all there for each other helping each other out of fights and supporting each other.
On the whole more females having the confidence to train is just life-changing. Years ago, as you say, girls were frowned upon for stepping foot into a fighting gym. Now it shows that the sport shouldn’t be seen as male-dominated. On another note, I know a fair amount of females who just train for fun and as a hobby. I also think this is great as they are learning to defend themselves.
In your time away, what have you missed the most about the sport?
In my time away from fighting, if I’m honest, you know I’ve missed pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Feeling those nerves, going to other gyms sparring with other girls, and having my hard fight simulation rounds every week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a love-hate relationship, but it just really makes me realise how mentally strong I am as i turn those nerves into fuel to perform.
Team Morale at TFT
TFT is booming at the moment and is producing some frightening talent, not only on the big stage but on the regional circuit as well. I imagine the team morale is at an all-time high. How much does that motivate you when preparing for a fight and just feeding everyone’s positive energy?
The talent in the gym is unbelievable, and the coaching is just phenomenal. We have the likes of Phil De Fries, KSW heavyweight champion. Mick Parkin is going into the UFC, Fisher is fighting on Bellator, and James Hendin is fighting on Cage warriors from our gym. It puts into perspective what we, as individuals and as a team, can achieve. With us all fighting on Rise and conquer, the atmosphere in the gym has just been absolutely amazing, like everyone hyping each other up and feeding off that positive energy.
This has been the first fight camp I’ve ever had a female training partner. Katrina and I have done this camp together, and it’s just been great having such competitive rounds. I really feel like us doing this camp together has really motivated me.
You made your Ammy debut in 2018. What were your goals in the sport back then, and what are they now? Have they changed at all?
Gosh, it’s mad to think I made my debut that long ago! The goal hasn’t really changed. If I’m honest, I just want to go out there, showcase my skills, have some fun gain some experience before things get serious when I turn pro in many years to come. Amateur is for learning and gaining experience. My main goal is just to keep improving and getting better.
For those who may not have seen you compete before. How would you describe your style, and could you give them a teaser on what they can expect?
I don’t really know how to describe my style, if I’m honest, especially without giving anything away! All I have to say is since the last fight, I have made a lot of improvements, and I’ll be a new Liv out there from what people saw before.
Talk to me about your opponent. What are your overall thoughts on the fight?
My overall thoughts on the fight are that I respect anyone I share the cage with, you know, but I just see my experience being too much for her. And with all my hard work, I am a really motivated individual. I’ve been doing 2+ training sessions most days, travelling 3 hours away for sparring rounds, and doing multiple fight simulation rounds a week alongside a full-time job. I just don’t see her outworking me.
Is there any doubt in your mind that you are rusty? Are you anticipating a sluggish opening few seconds until everything clicks in as normal? Or will it be 100mph from the get-go?
From my performance in sparring rounds, there is no doubt in my mind my performance is going to be 100mph from when our gloves touch.
October 1st, at Rise and Conquer, how does Olivia Taylor get it done? Can those attending expect a dominant three-round performance or a stoppage victory? What do you visualise?
Those attending rise and conquer can just expect an improved, stronger Liv in there. I can’t predict whats going to happen in the fight. All my wins have been decisions, so I would like a finish. I’ll take it if it’s there.
Lastly, I’ll give you the last word to shout out any sponsors or people who have helped you with this camp?
I want to thank all the guys at TFT, especially Fisher, for all the coaching and Nathan Haywood, who’s always been there helping me improve and giving me confidence in my abilities. Big thank you to my training partners Katrina King, Simone Abley, Lanchana Green and all the girls from Scotland, especially Georgia Hackland. Thank you to my sponsors. CBD Life is always sending me products to help with my sleep and aid my recovery.
The guys from Golden Ticket fighting promotions have always helped me out in the past, getting me new sponsors and supporting me. They got me Green Hill, so also a big shoutout to Green Hill for all my training stuff. Big thank you to my boyfriend and family for putting up with me during camp.
Featured image credits to Olivia Taylor