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Jalin Turner celebrates defeating Uro Medi by rear naked choke in the first round of their Lightweight fight during UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena on September 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
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Jalin Turner Pushes The Envelope

Daring Inside The Octagon And Out, "The Tarantula" Embraces His Biggest Test Yet At UFC 285

Don’t worry, Jalin Turner fans, your guy will never have a fight canceled because a wayward dog he’s training bit him in the wrong place or got through his protective suit.

“I try to be good and stay off the field,” laughed Turner, who puts dog training aside once a contract is signed. But once the fight is over and it’s time to unwind, this is how “The Tarantula” winds down…doing things most of us wouldn’t imagine doing as leisure activities.

How To Watch UFC 285 In Your Country

“It's just fun,” he said. “I find that the most interesting things and the oddest things are fun to me. They end up becoming my passion and hobbies. So I started with skateboarding. And then what else? I got into tarantulas. I go through these phases of my life where I like to learn about new things and learn new skills with things that I still revolve around my everyday life that I love. I love dogs, so it was just made sense. And my best friend’s actually the one that got me really into it. He trains dogs, so that's how I got super deep into it.”

It makes you want to bookmark Turner’s Instagram page to see what’s next. Any hints?

“I don't know,” he laughs. “I still need to conquer this fear of heights, so maybe I might start doing some crazy stuff, getting on some tall buildings and bridges just to work that out a little bit more.”

: Jalin Turner poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Jalin Turner poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)


Just no bungee jumping or skydiving…yet. That’s the good part of being 27 and in your physical prime; it’s like anything is possible, and that goes for Turner’s day job as a professional mixed martial artist, where he has moved from a 4-3 start in his pro career to a UFC 285 main card assignment against Mateusz Gamrot that could move the No. 10-ranked lightweight contender into the title conversation should he extend his five-fight winning streak to six this weekend.

That’s a lot to take in, but you get the impression that Turner can handle it, just like he handled losing to Richard LeRoy back in June of 2017 in a fight people told him was the best fight they had ever seen.

UFC 285 Fight By Fight Breakdown

“It ended up getting stopped in the third round, like 45 seconds left,” said Turner of the CXF 8 fight that left him just over the .500 mark as a pro. “They could've let it keep going, and I think I would've won a decision. But it was a great fight. First round, we go back and forth. Second round, he gets me on the ground, grapples me, and we just go back-and-forth in the third round. I come out taking him down, trying to finish the fight and we're just going at it the whole fight. It was crazy.”

Being in a memorable war can be good to soothe the ego after a loss, but when winning is everything to the general public and promoters, was 4-3 a death sentence?

Highlight: Jalin Turner Earns Second Straight Submission Win | UFC 266
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Highlight: Jalin Turner Earns Second Straight Submission Win | UFC 266
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“Honestly, I was still confident,” said Turner. “I've been battle tested, I've been put through the ringer, and life is throwing harder stuff at me than that, so I just never gave up. I remember my first loss as a pro (in 2016). I called my manager and said, ‘Did I just mess up? Did I mess up my whole shot?’ He was like, ‘No, the UFC likes when you have a loss to build some character, get a little bit more experience.’ I was like, ‘All right, cool.’ After I heard that, I just kept it going. And honestly, most of my losses equated to me being off somewhere in camp or my mind's all messed up, and I just got more discipline. So ever since I got more discipline, I pushed the envelope a little bit more, and I've been winning. I've been finishing, and I'm going to keep doing that. I'm going to continue to stay on this path, keep my mind right and win.”

UFC 285 FREE FIGHTS: Gane vs Tuivasa | Gane vs Lewis | Jones vs Rua | Jones vs Machida | Shevchenko vs Andrade | Grasso vs Wood

After the loss to LeRoy, Turner won three straight, including a stoppage of Max Mustaki on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, and though he didn’t get a contract that night, he did get a short-notice call to face Vicente Luque up a weight class in October of that year. Turner lost to Luque, but was undeterred, and since that bout, he’s won six of seven fights, with 2022 finishes of Jamie Mullarkey and Brad Riddell taking him from prospect to contender at 155 pounds. Did I mention that each of his 13 pro victories have ended before the final horn? That’s something you can’t gloss over.

Jalin Turner celebrates his win over Brad Riddell of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jalin Turner celebrates his win over Brad Riddell of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Honestly, for me, with my finishes, I feel like I have to study my opponents,” Turner said. “Recently, I feel like I studied my opponents so well that I can pinpoint openings, and I don't know how to explain it, but I put things towards my attributes that are their weaknesses, and it helps me open up the finish and get that finish sooner. Whether it's first round, second round, I see the opening and I feel like I inflict a lot of damage, so I feel like they can't take it over the course of three rounds.”

UFC 285 EMBEDDED: All Episodes

It’s got to be scary for prospective opponents to hear that, and to see it as he took out durable foes like Riddell, Mullarkey and Uros Medic, just to name three. But it’s all just business for the affable Californian, who is certainly building quite the fan base.

UFC 285: Jones vs Gane

“It feels good,” said Turner. “I feel like I relate to people more, just the realism of how my career has gone to the trajectory of everything I've been through. And I didn't get any handouts. I've worked for and earned everything I got. And I'm working to be a champion. I don't care about whatever else comes besides getting that title. But I show a lot of people love and I'm super supportive of everybody that supports me. I don't go out and talk s**t and do all that extra stuff that other fighters are doing that a lot of casuals are accustomed to. So I guess that gives me more real people that support me.”

Maybe they just like a young man who likes spiders and dogs biting him while being afraid of heights. You know, someone like the rest of us who becomes a Superhero on Saturday night every few months and does extraordinary things, unlike the rest of us.

That’s Jalin Turner.

UFC 285: Jones vs Gane took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 4, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass