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Ryan Hall to drop back to featherweight unless ‘interesting’ name is offered at lightweight

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It was another day at the office for grappling specialist Ryan Hall at UFC 232.

During the card, Hall, winner of season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, squared off against former two-division champion B.J. Penn, in what was undoubtably his biggest challenge to date

But, the “master of the 50/50” made short work of the UFC Hall of Famer as he slapped on his signature leg lock and force the tap a little over halfway through the first round.

For Hall, this bout also marked his first fight in the lightweight division since wining TUF 22 in 2015. Following the show, Hall immediately dropped back down to his natural weight class of 145-pounds. But even a win over the lightweight legend, Hall has no intention of sticking around at 155-pounds.

“I’ll be going back to featherweight,” Hall told Luke Thomas during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “But if there’s anybody really interesting at lightweight, I would always be happy to fight. But, I weighed in without cutting any weight below the lightweight limit, so I think featherweight be more prudent.”

Entering his scrap against Penn, Hall had been forced to watch from the sideline for more than two years due to what he perceived as fighters wanting to avoid his arsenal of leg locks. It also didn’t help his last opponent, Gray Maynard, was highly critical of their 2016 fight.

So, even with his first Performance of the Night bonus under his belt, Hall still isn’t sure anyone is willing to test their mettle agains him inside the Octagon. However, if the UFC does approach him with another name, Hall has no time for a step down in competition.

“If I’m honest, I’m not really sure,” said Hall on if he expects to be more active in 2019. “I have no idea what the future holds. I’ll do my best regardless and I hope to fight the best people available. I will stick to my guns the same way that I have. I don’t fight bums, I don’t waste my time. I am looking for very, very difficult challenges. I know that they are out there and I hope they would be willing to turn up the way B.J. did.

“I’ve gotten through my first few UFC more or less unscratched. But, I know that’s not a trend that can continue forever and I’m willing to face what comes and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”