The fighting life isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, even those living it get engulfed in the fighting end and forget about the life part.
Not Jalin Turner.
One look at the Instagram page of “The Tarantula,” and you’ll see a young man taking advantage of everything life has to offer. And he’s not about to start changing that philosophy now.
“You only live once, you gotta make it fun,” said Turner, who has a different type of fun scheduled for this weekend in Las Vegas, as he faces Brad Riddell in a highly anticipated lightweight scrap many believe can steal the show from the UFC 276 headliners. But when it’s not time to work in the gym or Octagon, Turner is learning that his precious free time is meant to be spent enjoying time with his two kids and in passions far removed from his day job.
“Especially after being on lockdown during the whole COVID situation and being stuck in the house, it was hard,” Turner said. “I was itching to go outside and do everything I could. I don't want to be tied up and just work all day, 24-7 in the gym. I've done it for 10 years already, so I try to do things that are gonna give me a little bit of passion, of drive, of fun, that's gonna give me a thrill, and I can still learn something that can advance my life in some way, shape or form. That's how I look at things, and everything I do, I feel like it's fun and it's something I love and have a good passion for.”
His passion for fighting has led him to the brink of the Top 15 at 155 pounds, and should he beat Riddell this weekend, he could take the New Zealander’s No.14 spot. That would also make it five consecutive wins for the Californian, who has finished Josh Culibao, Brok Weaver, Uros Medic and Jamie Mullarkey in succession since a 2019 loss to Matt Frevola that changed his whole outlook on his career.
“I told myself after my last loss that I need to take this seriously,” he said. “I got kids, I see time going by, and I had a physical clock of time in my face, and I'm like, it's now or never. I put that in my mind and that's a testament to this win streak.”
As much as he likes to laugh outside of fight night, serious Jalin Turner is a serious problem for the lightweight division, and his peers and UFC fans are starting to realize that. That makes his peers worry, but the fans eager to see him back in action. It’s also a recipe for a fighter who has the tools to not only succeed in the sport but transcend it. And he’s only 27 years old.
“That's my entire journey,” he said. “I want to look back at my life and be like, I gave everything I wanted to my all, I don't have any regrets, and I left no stone unturned, especially with my career. I put a lot of time in. You see me posting about my dogs and all the little stuff outside of training, but I still bust my ass in the gym.”
The proof is in the Octagon, because no one has the type of run he’s currently on without shedding a lot of blood, sweat and tears for the weeks leading up to the fight. It’s not easy, but when you’re motivated, the sacrifices at least become tolerable. And Turner has plenty of motivation.
“I don't own a house yet,” he said when asked his why. “How can I sit here and start relaxing if I'm not set up to where I want to be? That's what keeps me hungry. I get a little burnt out training all the time and being in back-to-back camps, but I want more.”
He wants a house. He wants to be financially secure for his kids. He wants a gold belt or two, as well, before it’s all said and done. But there’s more, and he refers to a lyric from the late Nipsey Hussle’s track, “Outro”.
“At the end of the bar, he says, ‘All that counts is how the story's told,’” said Turner. “And I take that into consideration and apply it to my life because you can do a lot of great things, but what really matters is how people see it and how people portray that story. A lot of people become forgotten. I don't want to be forgotten.”
UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier took place on Saturday, July 2, 2022 live T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!