Danielle Taylor takes a break during her 16-hour shift at the North County Correctional Facility.
Measuring in at just 5 feet tall, a typical day for the diminutive Danielle Taylor would floor the average person. When she’s not working as a custody assistant at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, California, she’s balancing a busy training schedule as a professional fighter in the strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). But that's why they call her dynamite.
Taylor awaits instruction as her coach calls out combinations.
The way I fell into the fighting was getting into law enforcement
—Danielle, on her pathway to fighting
Danielle Taylor takes a moment to discuss her background in law enforcement.
Starting with “a little bit of grappling, wrestling and jiu jitsu," Taylor realized that she had a knack for the physical components and began “growing a passion and a love for the sport." My old coach then "asked me if I wanted to fight,” she recalled.
She had some reservations and contemplated her mother’s concern that she'd be "hit in the face.” But Taylor eventually decided to give it a try.
Taylor loosens up before a conditioning session.
“I loved it and I wanted to keep growing and improving,” she exclaimed. She expanded her skills and eventually went on to fight in the mixed martial arts promotion, King of the Cage.
Competing as a strawweight, Taylor ultimately fought her way to become the champion of the division, but in the middle of a five-fight winning streak, she lost the belt in her first title-defense fight against Jamie Colleen. After that setback, Danielle refocused and won her next two fights, including the rematch with Colleen in which she regained her title as the King of the Cage strawweight champ.
Danielle trains at night, maintaining focus after a long day of work.
This is something I've always wanted to do...I want to keep growing and eventually I want to get that belt.