Jalin Turner feeling as calm as ever ahead of Contender Series opportunity
On Tuesday evening, Jalin Turner (6-3) will make the walk to the cage, looking to tear his opponent’s head off. He’s been here before — nine times actually. The tenth time Turner has taken on such challenge will be much different, however.
Turner will be competing on the fourth episode of the sophomore season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series airing live on UFC Fight Pass. If Turner puts on an impressive showing, he could be the beneficiary of newly printed UFC contract, while a loss would send him straight back to the drawing board.
While the Californian is only 23 years of age, this opportunity has been a long time coming. Reflecting on his roots in the sport, Turner remembers hitting a couch in his backyard when he didn’t have the money for a proper punching bag.
“I was seventeen at the time and didn’t have money for a punching bag,” remembered Turner in an interview with MMA Today. “I’d run once or twice a week thinking I’d build great cardio doing this. I’m like it ‘doesn’t seem hard.’ I’m shadowboxing thinking it’s not that hard. Then I went to train at Team Adrenaline, a local gym out here in San Bernardino and tried out. I made the team and it was like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever since I’ve been involved in mixed martial arts.”
To this day, Turner still calls Team Adrenaline his home, which is more of a home base in actuality. “The Tarantula” splits time among a handful of gyms including Carlson Gracie’s Temecula, Riverside MMA, and the RVCA Training Center.
“I like different looks and I like going places where you can get quality 1-on-1 time,” explained Turner. “Not falling along the lines of being a number, I feel like that 1-on-1 attention helps you improve yourself. It gives you that time and dedication. Then you can use that to improve and sharpen your tools.”
After spending time out at Team JacksonWink in Albuquerque, New Mexico last year, Turner came to a conclusion. While he did enjoy the short spurts of time he got with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, as well as his sparring sessions with former UFC title challenger Carlos Condit, Turner realized he wasn’t ready for the experience quite yet.
“Little things like that made me realize I have a long way to go until I’m good enough to just walk into a gym and be like ‘I’m the top guy,'” explained Turner. “I’d rather just stay at home, stay based and work on my lengths and show everybody what I can do.”
Fans who have never seen Turner fight before are in for a real treat. His funky, explosive striking style has produced numerous highlight reel finishes. Come Tuesday night, Turner doesn’t expect any of that to change.
“I change up my styles in the middle of a fight,” laughed Turner. “I can go from straight boxing and just switch it up and throw some crazy, fancy kicks mid fight. I just bring excitement for the most part. I hate boring fights and I hate people who just sit back and try and win a decision. Ninety percent of the time I’m trying to finish you. I’m trying to calculate something out.”
“The only time I had a boring fight was when I had someone fucking fat who was lazy and was just trying to lay on me the whole fight,” laughed Turner. “Nobody wants to see that shit.”
As eager as Turner is to join the UFC roster, there is one task he must accomplish first: defeating Island Fights‘s Max Mustaki (6-2) in impressive fashion. Turner doesn’t see that being much of a problem.
“He likes to stand up and bang, and he likes to trade,” said Turner, of his opponent. “He has a brown belt, and he’s durable — and that’s what really gets him through his fights: durability. Technically, I think I match up well against him. The closest person I can compare to him in terms of toughness is Richard Leroy (the toughest guy I’ve ever fought). And I don’t think this guy is going to be nearly as tough as him. I feel I’ll get him out of there in the first.”
Fighting on such a big stage in front of UFC President Dana White doesn’t faze the 6’3″ lightweight in the least. For all Turner cares, he could be fighting at Madison Square Garden in front of or against the couch-turned-punching-bag he used to beat on in the backyard. It’s all the same to him.
“I’ve fought in front of a lot of big names — people who would be able to do really big things for me in the future,” described Turner. “That’s kind of how I’ve gotten to this point.”
“Now, I’ve got the perfect set of eyes to see me get where I want to go,” continued Turner. “I love the pressure, but I don’t feel much. I’m going to go in there and look as calm as ever. I’m a little more amped up with a little more energy this time, but it’s all the same — it’s just a fight.”
“Thank you to Iridium Sports, Jason House, Jeremy Lachau, my mom, my girlfriend, High Performance Meals, Adrenaline San Bernardino, Adam Rothweiler, Shar Ruiz, Thomas Cronin, Josh Gale, Citizens Water Co, Enrooka, Pat Kinore, Austin Bammer.” – The Tarantula