Uriah Hall isn’t looking past the next challenge ahead of him, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t have his eyes on the current middleweight champion.
Hall was scheduled to face former champ Chris Weidman in the co-main event of UFC 258. However, Hall will have to wait in his attempt to avenge his loss to Weidman, the first of his career from a regional matchup from September 2010 where Weidman picked up a first-round TKO win, due to a positive COVID-19 test for the former champion. April is the targeted timeframe for the rescheduling of the matchup, but nothing has been made official.
“Prime Time” will enter the bout on a three-right winning streak and is sitting in the No. 8 spot in the 185-pound rankings, yet he has his sights set on a future matchup with titleholder Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya returns to action a month later with the chance to earn a second title when he challenges Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight strap in the main event of UFC 259. While he has a lot of respect for “The Last Stylebender,” Hall feels like there’s more work to be done for Adesanya at 185.
“I know this is just gonna get me in trouble; I think this dude’s just picking fights, man,” Hall told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “He’s picking fights, and maybe he has that leverage. But maybe [I think that way] because I want to fight him so bad. I really want to fight him.”
The Fortis MMA standout has been in the UFC for nearly eight years since coming off of season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, one of the more memorable seasons in the show’s history. After a three-fight skid between November 2015 and November 2016, Hall has won four of his last five, which includes stoppage victories over Krzysztof Jotko, Bevon Lewis and Anderson Silva.
While Hall really wants to fight Adesanya, it doesn’t stem from a personal grudge. It comes from a spirited likeness, as well as a unique understanding.
“The last time I wanted to fight someone so bad was Josh Samman on The Ultimate Fighter,” Hall said. “I want to fight him so bad because I get him. There’s not a lot of dynamic people left, and for those who are dynamic and not winning, they’re trying to be flashy. [I’m talking about] that dynamic with fluidity. I have that fluidity. It’s coming out. I lost it for awhile because I was in La La Land but man, I’m putting my sh*t together.”
One thing Hall isn’t going to do is try and be anyone other than himself. If you’re expecting the 36-year-old to get on a microphone and cut a scathing promo about a future foe, it isn’t going to happen.
As Hall prepares to potentially face Weidman in 2021, he knows he needs to win impressively to get closer to a potential fight with Adesanya. While a win certainly helps his cause, Hall understands that it could take more than that to get where Adesanya is—including a trip through the highly debated UFC rankings system.
“Good god, I want to fight this f*cker so bad,” Hall explained. “But with the politics, the media, it’s like someone saying, ‘Well, you’re not worthy.’ Or, it’s the ranking system: ‘We here think you’re number eight. We feel that you’re number eight. We’ve never competed before, but we think you’re number eight.’ Get the f*ck out of here. Who comes up with this ranking system? It’s a joke. So you’re gonna tell me what number I am?
“I think, in my mind, just like a lot of people, you have to feel like you’re the best, like, you’re number one,” Hall continued. “You have flaws. Yeah, you have ups and downs, but they are your ups and downs. They’re your lessons. Last time I checked it’s called my life. It’s not your f*cking life. You live in your own f*cking life. I’m living my life. So why the f*ck are you telling me what I should do? Get the f*ck out of here.”
To be clear, Hall has no hatred or animosity whatsoever towards Adesanya. He respects everything the champion has done. This all stems from a man who’s hunger and competitive nature might surpass his dynamic skill set.
It may even go beyond championships, and the desire to be known as the best fighter in the world. It comes from the spirit from which this sport was built: one guy who wants to challenge himself against a high-level competitor to see who the best man is on a singular night.
In the end, Hall just has to keep winning.
“This is beyond competitive,” Hall said. “I’m beyond competitive. You should see me playing video games. I’ll be cursing and if the audience knew what I was saying they would delete my account. I’m cussing my ass off. But I’m very competitive. It could be the simplest thing and I think I’m gonna win. I’m gonna do it.
“But yeah, this is coming from a very pure, competitive side, but you have to sort of weave through all of the politics to get to him. I gotta do what I gotta do to get to him. That’s what I want. I was hoping he wouldn’t leave the title because, like, I want to beat you. But [if he does], even better. I’ll get there, grab it and come to you. I’m just very competitive like that and he’s one of those guys that would bring the best out of me.
“If you thought the Anderson fight was cool, wait until you see this sh*t. It’s just a matter of time.”