Click. Click. Click.

The sound of the camera shutter echoes throughout the room. The flash illuminates to the sides of the shooting area. The white backdrop makes for a simple yet elegant scene. Wearing attire that would be customary for a weigh-in day, the model stands still, tall and confident. The photographer scurries around, yearning for the best shot.

“Just a little bit more to the left.”

“Now, I need you to look serious.”

These commands aren’t exactly what a professional fighter is accustomed to hearing. However, in the case of Gokhan Turkyilmaz, it’s a means to an end that allows him to continue fight and train professionally.

“I’ve done [sports modeling] for a couple of years, and it pays the bills and is a bit of fun,” Turkyilmaz explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I get flown around, and it’s just a little bit of something extra I can do. It’s mainly for things like men’s health magazines and fitness websites and blogs. These days, magazines and the like want to portray that fighter image, and I seem to do okay as a fitness model. I don’t have any aspirations in the business as such. I’m using it as a way to make a little bit of extra money so I don’t have to work as much [laughs].”

As far as career aspirations go, it’s an often clichéd response that an up-and-coming fighter will give. They say they are ready for the UFC and they will do whatever it takes to get there. Turkyilmaz, who sports a record of 12 wins with nine losses, is content with where his career is headed. The fighter lifestyle will always be enough to get him back inside the cage.

“I’m really living the dream,” Turkyilmaz admitted. “I mean, I may not ever get to the UFC, but that’s something I’m happy with. I know what I can do, and for me it’s all about the journey on the way to the fight. I love the fight camp. I love the lead up [to] every fight. This camp now has been a real eye-opener for me. Being back home at Integrated MMA has made me see some things I need to do better, and every training session there is just an intense session. I’m looking forward to starting the year off fresh.”

Often labeled a fight nomad, Turkyilmaz’s willingness to fight anywhere in the world has given him ample opportunities to perfect his craft over the years. Whilst chasing fights could take him to any corner of the globe, there really is no place like home, as the saying goes. Turkyilmaz, however, views the opportunities abroad as better than what is available at home.

“I’m keen to keep fighting internationally so that I can fight new opponents,” he said. “Whenever I come back to Australia to train, I’d always like to get a fight too, but it’s hard with pretty much everyone in Australia protecting their records. It’s fine with me, because I like to fight overseas anyway. But it’d be nice to get one or two back home.

“Last year, I fought 12 times, including Muay Thai. I’d like to fight around six to eight times a year. For me, this is my full-time job. I’m not working or anything. I’m just training and fighting. It doesn’t pay all the bills, but I am happy with what I am doing, and it gives me the opportunity to travel the world.”

The next fight for Turkyilmaz takes place at Carnage in the Cage in Mackay, Queensland, on Feb. 8. He faces off with Legend FC vet Rob Hill, who is entering the bout on the back of four straight losses. With Turkyilmaz looking to start his 2014 campaign off much like he ended his 2013 one, the first fight of the year is always the most important one to set the tone for what’s to come.

“In my last fight for 2013, I really wanted to make it go the whole three rounds to test myself. I went in really calm and focused, and I just got in there and got it done quickly. I’m really looking to push the pace in this one and make it a scrappy five-rounder,” Turkyilmaz said. “I’ve changed my whole game plan leading into this fight, and I plan to start the year off with a win. This fight is for the WKBF Oceanic title, so I’m looking forward to getting that belt.”

While Turkyilmaz may find himself in front of a sea of photographers once again on Feb. 8 all clicking away, trying to get the best shot that they can, there will be no posing. There will just be Turkyilmaz working away at the profession that he knows and loves.

Gokhan would like to thank his manager Ben Livingstone. He would also like to thank Integrated MMA and his coaches, Dan Higgins and Adrian Pang, and Phuket Top Team, as well as Healing Hands, Omerta and Elite Tattoo. Follow Turkyilmaz on Twitter: @gpt86

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.