Lightweight Jalin Turner looks to make it two wins in a row this weekend, when he returns to action at UFC Vegas 9.
It’s been roughly seven months since we last saw “The Tarantula” inside the octagon. A bit longer of a layoff than he would have liked, but of course, things took a turn for many people in March. For obvious reasons.
“The pandemic complicated a lot. I was ready to fight, I was ready to go in May,” Turner (9-5) told Cageside Press during the UFC Vegas 9 media day. “I wanted to fight in May, because they were going to do the San Diego card. And that all got shut down, it didn’t go through.” So Turner wound up on the shelf. His weight, admittedly, got a little higher than he would have liked. “Started training again around May, been training since, got that weight off pretty quickly. I’ve been keeping the ball rolling as far as training goes, and just trained any way I could.”
There was a point, however, where Turner questioned whether or not he’d fight again in 2020. “Honestly I was a bit worried,” he admitted. “I was super hopeful that the UFC would get the fights back going. But then they hit their bumps in the road, and a lot of stuff came up. It was mentally draining for me, because I just got tired of being at home doing nothing. I needed something to do.”
Once he got back to training, Turner’s fortunes started looking up. Especially once things began opening up again. And now it’s on to UFC Vegas 9, where Turner faces Thiago Moises.
There are a number of parallels between the two lightweights. Both are twenty-five years old. Both are coming off a single win, both have a similar amount of experience, although Moises turned pro several years earier.
Heading into the fight, however, Turner is turning up the pressure — on himself.
There’s a few reasons for that, he explained. “I like pressure. I like adversity. I always do better when I’m a big underdog,” said Turner. “So it feels good to me. And it’s also something I just realized: the UFC believes in me, a lot of people believe in me.”
And with that in mind, Jalin Turner is working extra hard, both for himself, and for them.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 9 media day press scrum with Jalin Turner above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV, airing live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).