Photo via Bellator
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger talks to The Ultimate Fighter season 17 standout Uriah Hall about using video game moves as inspiration, his work at Tiger Schulmann's gym and what it was like to be coached by Chael Sonnen in this exclusive interview.
Dana White got people buzzing about this upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) by mentioning there was someone that every other fighter on the show was "terrified of" who was sending everyone to the hospital.
After watching the premiere of the 17th season of TUF, rumors began swirling that the fighter might just be Uriah Hall, who many have pegged as one of the favorites to win this upcoming season of the show after he showcased a tremendous and dynamic striking and takedown game en route of his unanimous decision victory to enter the house.
Training out of Tiger Schulmann's gym in New York, Hall is an incredibly exciting middleweight with experience against current top fighters like Chris Weidman and Constantinos Philippou already in his young career.
The second pick for Team Sonnen is set to compete this Tuesday night (Feb. 5, 2013) against Adam Cella on TUF 17 in a bout that is being promoted as having an extremely scary and brutal finish.
Hall spoke to MMAmania.com during an appearance on The Verbal Submission where he talked about using video game moves as inspiration, his work at Tiger Schulmann's gym and what it was like to be coached by Chael Sonnen in this exclusive interview.
check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's start from the beginning. I've read that when you got into martial arts, you had no formal training whatsoever, you had just copied over your moves from Tekken and Street Fighter and stuff.
Uriah Hall: (laughs) Yeah, it's actually true. Not Street Fighter yet but I played video games and I watched a lot of martial arts movies including Van Damme and I was just a big fan of the whole kicking and cool texture of it. With the combination of that including Tekken which is the best fighting game ever, I was just going hard and training in my kitchen and practicing moves over and over until I got it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You never know, if you add a "Shoryuken" or a "Hadoken" to your game, I don't think anybody could stop you, just saying.
Uriah Hall: You know what? I actually did that. I did that to a buddy of mine when we were training and he just stopped in his tracks like "What the F was that?" I couldn't tell him, but I'd been practicing street fighter the night before in the kitchen. (laughs)
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How helpful is it that you're a part of a team that has sent so many fighters on to success at other promotions? Tiger Schulmann's team has had Lyman Good become Bellator champion, Louis Gaudinot enter the mix at flyweight in the UFC, Nick Pace fought there and Jimmie Rivera is a standout. There's a lot of talent at that gym.
Uriah Hall: Absolutely man. Training at Tiger's has been a great, life-changing experience and I had to work my way up. We started up competing against the school and we just competed against each other and I started off in that with a buddy of mine who's in the NYPD and then I moved on to kickboxing and MMA bouts. They did everything perfect where they slowly built us up and didn't hurt our careers as fighters and did a pretty good job with it. The same goes for Lyman and Pace and Gaudinot. They orchestrated it really nice.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Was it difficult adding that discipline to your game when you came in to the martial arts as a wild child, probably wanting to try all these crazy moves. Was it hard finding out that some of it wouldn't be practical?
Uriah Hall: For me, thinking outside the box has always been fun. I can't just sit down in the middle and do the basic stuff. I think at one point one of my coaches, Ron Schulmman, someone asked him to do a spinning technique and he just redirected the guy to me. I'm not the type of guy that just throws a "jab, cross, hook" combination. I'll throw a jab, step right, cross, move around the corner and then throw a hook. I can't just do the basic stuff. My body doesn't really adapt to that but at the beginning, getting the foundation, I needed that and I added that but then what I did was I manipulated it, I learned and now I'm just using it to my advantage.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Okay, speaking of the diversity of your game, was it almost a disapointment that you got picked by Chael Sonnen? I know he's a great guy and everything but it just seems like your style would be perfect to be molded under a guy like Jon Jones who's so creative.
Uriah Hall: Well everyone was saying that I should be on Jon Jones' team, he's the type of fighter that I fight like and I was thinking the same thing too. In fact, going there, that was my gameplan. I wanted to be picked by Jones. I love the guy. He's a great guy. I still know him now, but I got picked by Chael. When I got picked by Chael, it was a great experience, it was exactly what I needed. He got inside my head and he taught me some stuff that I'm sure he went through himself. Chael motivated us not just physically, but also mentally.
A lot of questions that we had, he had the answers and he just set some important stuff that hit home whereas I don't know that if I was on Jon Jones' team, he would have been able to tell me that. Chael's just been in the game for so long and he understood probably where I was. Not to take anything away from Jones, he's young and up-and-coming but I just felt like Chael did exactly what should have happened and I'm grateful for it. He's a great guy.