Jalin Turner’s Increased Confidence In Full Display At UFC Auckland

Jalin Turner
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 23: Jalin Turner celebrates after his victory over Josh Culibao of Australia in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Spark Arena on February 23, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Jalin Turner improved to 9-5 overall and 2-2 in the UFC with a win over Joshua Culibao at UFC on ESPN+ 26 in Auckland, New Zealand. “The Tarantula” picked up a second round stoppage over his previously-undefeated lightweight opponent.

“I’m feeling good. I kinda gave myself the nickname of ‘Undefeated Fighter Killer,'” Turner said with a laugh.

Culibao, making his UFC debut, appeared to struggle with Turner’s height, reach and strength advantages.

“I felt really strong,” Turner said. “He hasn’t fought anyone at my size, or height, at least. That played a big factor.”

It showed, as Turner used his length to keep Culibao at bay with his punches, and threatened the New South Wales fighter with a pair of guillotine attempts. After Culibao appeared to injure his ankle early in the second round, Turner took him to the ground and eventually stopped him with punches for a TKO win.

“I honestly felt like I was going to finish him in the first round,” Turner said. “After we came out for the second round, I felt him start to break down a little bit. Even in the first round, I felt his frustration, and I just had to take advantage of it from that point.”

Turner said he doesn’t have any specific opponent in mind for his next bout, however. He said he’d like to return in either May or July; sometime before or after his daughter’s birthday in early June.

Turner then laid out his goal for 2020: The lightweight intends to have a solid end to the year with two more wins.

“I’ll keep working hard, keep on the right track, stay healthy, keep on working and training smart,” he said. “Just get better and pushing harder. I wanna crack the top-20, top-15, top-10 coming up pretty soon. Not at the end of this year but maybe sometime in the middle of next year, I wanna be ranked and make my way up.”

Turner broke into the UFC with a finish of Max Mustaki on Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2018. Since then, he’s defeated Culibao and Callan Potter. Turner’s losses have come against welterweight contender Vicente Luque and fellow lightweight prospect Matt Frevola.

Throughout his UFC tenure, Turner said his confidence has grown in specific fight situations.

Mainly on the ground; being confident and comfortable being on top and in those grappling exchanges,” he said. “Most of my training camps are usually me focusing on just standing up and keeping the fight on the feet. Now they’re more tailored to becoming an all-around martial artist who’s comfortable wherever the fight goes. I’m more comfortable on my back. I want to be comfortable to the point where I can strike, get up or reverse, and not just staying in certain positions at all times.”

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