Jalin Turner will return to the octagon for the first time in a year at this weekend’s UFC 266.
Turner (10-5) has been busy even while on the sidelines. Of late, he’s been filming a role in a short film, Sicatriz, due for release in 2022. The film is written and directed by fellow MMA fighter Kristi Lopez, a TUF and Bellator veteran.
“The Tarantula” gets to play a bad guy in the flick. “I feel like I can play that role real well. I’m kind of a decent assassin in real life,” Turner told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview recently. “It works out.”
The hardest thing about acting for the fighter so far? “Trying to scream on cue. That’s the hardest thing. It’s not natural for me. ‘Ahhh!’ It’s weird. It’s so weird,” Turner exclaimed. “I’ll scream after I get done making weight, because I get to go eat. And it’s like ‘finally.’ But just acting— I’m working on it.”
It’s not acting, mind you, that has kept Jalin Turner away from the cage over the past year. “It’s just been a lot of ups and downs. Personal stuff. I ended up breaking my hand. I had to get PRP on my hip after my last fight. I got sick. Just a bunch of stuff has been keeping me out of the octagon,” he explained. “So I ended up taking my time, and I’m finally back. I wanted to fight a little sooner, but just precautionary wise, I needed some time out, just to make sure I made it through the camp well. So I appreciate it. It’ll be a year since my last fight. It’s been crazy to think that I survived a year. It’s been crazy. I can’t wait.”
Turner views his UFC 266 bout as “my pivotal moment. After this one, I’m going to start going to up. Nothing can really stop me at this point.” Opposite Turner will be Uros Medic, who will enter the fight undefeated.
“He’s tough, durable, he’s actually a striker so I actually like that, I get to bang with somebody a little bit, and I don’t have to worry about some takedown defense,” Turner said of his opponent. Though that will always be sharp, he added.
“I expect a fun fight. It’s either going to be a quick fight, or it’s going to be a long fight. There’s no way around it,” Turner continued. At the suggestion the fight might be a sleeper on the card, Turner countered that “I think people know about me enough for it to not be a sleeper. It’s going to be just a major eye opener for the lightweights at this point. I’m ready to start taking over, climb my way up the rankings, get up there.”
For those watching weigh-ins, you won’t get to be seeing Turner bring his namesake — the tarantula — to the affair this week. It’s something he’s done in the past, but the rules have changed pretty much as a result of his actions.
“They just told me I couldn’t bring it to the face-off. And they told me after, I couldn’t do it. But you know, sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. I was the first UFC fighter to ever do anything like that,” Turner told us. “I did it authentically, it goes with my persona, who I am, my nickname, nobody got hurt, nothing crazy happened. I think it was all cool, calm, and collected, and look at it, I kind of made history. Hopefully it stays in a positive way. Sorry for everybody else, the rule is made after me I guess, but it is what it is.”
Watch our full interview with UFC 266’s Jalin Turner above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 25, 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.