Local MMA fighter Payton Talbott earns UFC contract

Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 7:49 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - In the realm of MMA, Dana White’s Contender Series serves as the ultimate proving ground, offering ten fighters the chance to compete on the biggest stage of all. This week, Reno local, Payton Talbott, showed his innate skill set for the sport, earning a contract with UFC and even made history in his weight class.

Payton’s victory was joined with his family and friends once he landed in Reno. They held balloons and a celebratory cupcake —a symbol of his sweet win.

Talbott shared his experience attending such a high-stakes event.

“I feel super good to have put Reno on the map. I have a lot of pride coming out from here. I just love my city so much and it’s just surreal. I feel like I’m the first to do this from Reno, so it’s just really cool. I have a lot of people behind me, so I just feel all the love.”

Since he was 17, Payton Talbott honed his craft at the Reno Academy of Combat, an institution that has been his second home. His coaches reminisced about and mentioned what it was like to see Payton make it to this moment, something they say, wasn’t a surprise at all.

“It all started out as training partners. He came in as this 17-year-old kid while I was competing. It’s amazing to see how he’s risen to this level,” said Sinjin Smith.

Rick Collup stated, “He kind of does his own thing when he’s in there. We guide him and like I said he’s very coachable. That’s why he’s where he’s at right now.”

Payton shared that this fight was set apart as it was all business, and where there’s business, there’s a deal to be made, and the ultimate dealmaker, Dana White, himself weighed in during an after-series press conference. He shared his excitement about what could be ahead for Talbott after securing his UFC contract.

“24 years old, if this kid keeps his head together, he’s special. You see it here tonight. You look at the guys that come up in the contender series and what they’re doing now in the UFC, I love this, White said.