Who is Payton Talbott, Cameron Saaiman’s next foe

Impressive prospect Payton Talbott will make his second UFC appearance when he faces Cameron Saaiman in March.

The fight is set up as one that could shape the future of the bantamweight division with both men earning high praise from Dana White.

The Future vs the Predator

While Gauteng and Nevada are worlds apart there are distinct parrallels between the two up-and-comers.

Both had their first professional fights shortly after they turned 18.

Talbott and Saaiman also used the Dana White’s Contender Series to fight their way into the UFC.

In his final DWCS win, Talbott really made an impression on the boss.

“This kid is an absolute predator,” UFC President Dana White said post-fight.

“He keeps moving forward, he seems unfazed by everything that happens, he plays the mental game, he keeps talking to his opponent. He’s only 24 years old. If this kid can keep his head together, I can’t wait to see him at 27.”

Payton Talbott, UFC prospect out to stay grounded and hungry

Talbott said that he soaked up the praise but wouldn’t allow it to go to his head. He acknowledged that he has a lot of work to do to get where he wants to be in the UFC.

“It was super special to hear [White] say what he said,” Talbott said. “I think I kind of expected it going into that fight; I have a lot of high expectations for myself. At the end of the day, Dana’s words mean a lot to me, but nothing means more than what I say to myself.”

“I said that I was proud of myself, but I could’ve done better. No one’s harder on me than I am.”

Wrestler falls in love with MMA

Talbott fell in love with MMA after joining a gym when he turned 18 having been a wrestler throughout high school.

However that grappling background doesn’t mean that Saaiman won’t have to guard against strikes. Talbott has already shown himself to be proficient in the stand-up and he counts Max Holloway and Mike Tyson among his inspirations.

That characteristic and his desire to keep moving forward make his fight with Saaiman an enticing prospect given how aggressive the South African is as well.

“My striking is extremely adaptable,” Talbott said. “It’s not just good and it’s not just high volume. I adapt based on what my opponent does very well. I’m very comfortable throwing when I’m uncomfortable. That, along with my cardio, makes it a huge challenge for people.

“I hope I fill the canvas with what is the new era of MMA. I hope I continue to fill it with being a hungry, intelligent, young guy. Even if I’m old in this sport, I don’t ever want to be looked at as old. I just want to stay hungry, and every day look for something I can improve on or something I can learn. I think fighters, now more than ever, are intelligent.”

Payton Talbott puts bantamweights on notice

Talbott wants to put the UFC bantamweight division on notice or at least be someone that others want to test themselves against in the Octagon.

“I hope the rest of the bantamweight division is saying that they’re scared,” Talbott said. “Or just that people are excited to fight me and test themselves, just like I do. If they don’t notice me after Saturday, it’s just a matter of time.”

Saaiman and Talbott will step into the Octagon on 23 March as the final bout before UFC Night: Ribas vs Namajunas’ titular main event.

The South African