British lightweight Paul Taylor is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC…when he actually manages to make it into the cage. His ability to do so has become less and less frequent over the past few years, and it’s truly a shame for fans of a good old fashioned throwdown. Taylor was scheduled to return to action for the first time in over a year against Anthony Njokuani at UFC on FUEL 4, which goes down from the HP Pavillion in San Jose on July 11th, but word just broke that he has been forced to withdraw from the bout yet again, and will be replaced by Rafael Dos Anjos.
Although Taylor is an unspectacular 4-5 thus far in his UFC career, his victories include a most recent trouncing of Gabe Ruediger at 126, as well as entertaining victories over Peter Sobatta, Jess Liaudin, and Edilberto de Oliveira. Oddly enough, Taylor has earned his reputation and “Relentless” moniker by managing to be even more captivating in defeat, with his high-profile losses to Marcus Davis, Paul Kelly, and Chris Lytle all earning him Fight of the Night bonuses at UFC 75, 80, and 89, respectively.
But ever since dropping to lightweight, Taylor has spent so much time nursing various injuries that even James Irvin is beginning to look like the picture of health in comparison. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but if you were to peruse over Taylor’s Wikipedia page, you would find that the phrase “was expected to face” appears more times than the phrase “won by.” Sad but true, folks.
Just check out his injury-ridden history:
-Taylor “was expected to face” John Gunderson at UFC 112, but was deemed medically unfit to fight after he came down with intense migraines as a result of his weight cut.
-He was next scheduled to face John Makdessi at UFC on Versus 5 in August of 2011, but both he and Makdessi were forced out of the bout with injuries (Talyor’s being a broken foot) and were replaced by Donald Cerrone and Charles Oliviera, respectively.
As we mentioned, Taylor has already been replaced by Rafael Dos Anjos, who is fresh off a first round shellacking of Kamal Shalorus on the undercard of UFC on FUEL 3. After blistering “The Prince of Persia” with a head kick, Dos Anjos finished off Shalorus with a rear-naked choke that quickly erased most fans memories of his split decision loss to Gleison Tibau back at UFC 139.
Njokuani has also split his last two contests, most recently rebounding from a split decision loss to Danny Castillo at UFC 141 with an impressive unanimous decision nod over John Makdessi at UFC 145.
Who do you got for this one, Potato Nation? And more importantly, when the hell do you think we’ll ever see Taylor back in the octagon?