Uriah Hall has been in the game for a long time. The former TUF runner-up has fought nearly every middleweight contender – and the current champ, Robert Whittaker – and has provided viral clips of his circus-like kicks.
For Hall, most of those moments are far in the past. The New Yorker has developed a new mindset when it comes to MMA, and even life itself. He can’t pinpoint exactly when he started having these revelations, but he’s hopeful it will pay off in the Octagon.
Hall returns to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC Vancouver against Antonio Carlos Junior, where the 12th-ranked middleweight looks to make it two consecutive wins.
UFC: It’s uncommon for fighters to switch camps after a victory, why did you make the move to Fortis MMA?
Uriah Hall: As an athlete you have to look out for yourself and what’s good for you. This sport is constantly growing. My coach on Day 1 said, “if there’s someone that can get you better than me, then I’m all about it.” That made me realize a lot. A lot of people won’t understand that. I felt like I needed to try something different. Doesn’t take anything away from any other camps. I’m just saying you have to evolve.
UFC: What are your thoughts on the matchup with Carlos Junior and how do you combat his hunger after he’s coming off a disappointing loss?
UH: It’s a classic matchup - we have a striker versus a grappler. We already know what I’m going to do and we know what he’s going to do.
I’m a lion filled in a room with lions. He’s a lion too. If a lion loses a fight, he’s going to be hungry to win a fight. I’ve lost a bunch of fights but the fights that I’ve lost I can honestly sit here and tell you that I lost those fights. I defeated myself. I looked at those opponents and said, “I think those guys can beat me. I think those guys are better.” I’ve let go of all that.
UFC: Carlos Junior said you have holes in your game that he’s looking forward to exploiting. What holes do you see in his game?
UH: Everybody has holes in their game, you just have to exploit it. Of course, I have holes in my game. They’re there for me to recognize them and get better. But if he can take advantage of it, great for him. I’m training myself to make sure that doesn’t happen.
UFC: When did you develop this new mentality?
UH: There’s two stages to life and the second one begins once you realize you have one. There’s a point where your one (life) becomes a must. I feel like I’m at that point. Nothing really changes, it’s just going after that strap.
UFC: The middleweight division is so stacked. Do you ever look at the rankings and think about how daunting it is to climb to the top?
UH: You can’t look at yourself and say, “I guess I’m No. 12 because some people sat in a room and gave me a number.” I don’t believe in that. In my mind, I’m No. 1. If you ask any one of these individuals they’ll say the same.
Adesanya to me is someone I want to get to. If I have to play the politics card? Fine. He’s my trophy right now. He motivates me. I’ve been waiting for someone to light a fire under my ass. I have nothing bad to say about him, he’s awesome.