Undefeated Australian featherweight Joshua Culibao will make his UFC debut against Jalin Turner at UFC Auckland this Sunday. Culibao is stepping up on short notice to replace fellow Aussie fighter Jamie Mullarkey who was forced to pull out due to injury.
Having only fought once in 2019 (first-round TKO vs Josh Payne), Culibao is excited to get back in the cage.
“I’m super excited. I feel like it’s been long overdue but then it happened suddenly, it’s a mixed bag of emotions,” he said.
Culibao is 8-0 (5 KO/TKO) and has been waiting for his shot at the UFC for a long time.
“Making my UFC debut is huge, I’ve been chasing this goal for 10 years,” he said.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to fight for the UFC. Now it’s here and I can’t wait.”
Culibao has three titles in Australian organisations; Hex Fight series, Diamondback FC and Superfight MMA. All of these titles are held at featherweight, but Culibao will make his debut at lightweight to replace Mullarkey. Culibao hopes to go back to his natural weight after this fight.
“After this one, I’m definitely going back down to my weight. Some of these lightweights are huge,” he said.
While debuting in the UFC is a big step, Culibao just wants to focus on the win and hopes to impress people along the way.
“Of course the goal is to win, but if I put on a performance and show up the fans are going to love this fight,” he said.
Culibao’s opponent ‘The Tarantula’ Jalin Turner is a young prospect himself and made his name on Dana White’s Contender Series with a TKO win. He holds a win over Aussie Callan Potter and is looking to bounce back from his recent loss at UFC 236.
Culibao and Turner will open the card for UFC Auckland, where the 25-year-old Sydney based fighter will look to continue his undefeated streak and get his UFC career started off with a win.