Uriah Hall didn’t want to face an opponent that sat below him in the rankings, but the 36-year-old middleweight said he knew it was necessary.
“I’ve been trying to get a crack at the top five, but there’s politics in the sport,” Hall said at a media day at the UFC Apex. “It is what it is, but I show up.”
Hall (17-9 MMA, 10-7 UFC) agreed to take on Sean Strickland (23-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the headlining bout of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 28 event.
“I think most of the people were booked, and he might have been the only one that’s left,” Hall said. “I mean, on paper, it didn’t really make sense because he’s ranked behind me. But this business, man, you know, it’s business.”
“Sh*t happens,” Hall said. “It was unfortunate. I mean, I checked it perfectly. I was taught to check the kick. He threw everything he had into it.”
“You know, I felt bad. It was a sucky night leading up to that fight. You know, I wanted to get a crack at him and, you know, he was the first guy to beat me, so it was a little bit of emotion there. But at the same time, it was one of those, ‘All right. We’re running it back. Let’s really see what’s going to happen.’”
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Hall also knows Strickland will probably be talking to him during the fight, and potentially saying some very odd things. For instance, Strickland claims Hall is the type of sparring partner that would “knock you out, he’ll be like, ‘Oh, are you OK?’ and then go beat his f-cking d-ck off before bed.”
“That’s Sean,” Hall said. “He says weird sh-t that makes no f-cking sense. What the f-ck are you talking about? What planet are you on? But you know what? That’s him. That’s his style. People love it. It translates to his awkward style and makes him like, ‘What’s going on here?’
“You know, key factors is to stay calm and stay composed and do what you need to do to finish a guy like that. But, yeah, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”
Five straight wins in the UFC’s middleweight division would certainly be quite the accomplishment, and Hall believes he’s capable of winning more than that.
“I am looking forward to the champ, man,” Hall said. “I got nothing bad to say. I’m not here to start any BS. … But I’m excited because, you know, he came onto the platform and he has an exciting style. I think my style is perfectly matched up for his. But, you know, you got to play the game. There’s a few dudes ahead of me, so I’ve got to take them out and get to him. But he’s the motivation because I like that style. I understand that style – and again, nothing bad to say about him. He’s a champ. He got to where he had to get to. He played his role. He did his job, and I just want a crack at it. That’s it.”