When Uriah Hall laid waste to Bubba McDaniel in the quarterfinals of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 (watch it here), Coach Chael Sonnen told the former Ring of Combat (ROC) star he could be ranked among the world's best middleweight fighters.
That's mighty high praise for the hard-hitting New Yorker, who meets Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF 17 finale tomorrow night (April 13, 2013) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite a 4-0 run on the combat sports reality show, Hall insists he wants to earn his spot in line.
From his conversation with MMA Fighting:
"I was shocked, like 'What? Give me time to build up!' Sometimes as a coach, they will see things in you that you don't see. Since he was my coach at that time, he saw that potential. Somewhere down the line, maybe it will happen, but it's not something I'm pushing. I feel, personally, this guy is a walking legend and if I ever get the opportunity one day, that'd be great. I'm not looking towards that, I'd rather earn my way up there, like the rest of the guys."
If Hall wants to live up to "The American Gangster's" high praise and earn a spot in the top 10 of his division, he'll first have to beat a top 10 fighter. He currently holds two losses to Constantinos Philippou and Chris Weidman back in ROC.
Despite their past rivalry, the "All American" has invited him to come train in the outskirts of the "Big Apple," but Hall knows better.
"In the back of my head, I know I have to fight this guy and I don't want it to be like a Jones and Rashad incident."
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones -- Sonnen's opposing TUF coach -- was mired in a bitter rivalry with Rashad Evans after training together at Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a situation Hall would rather avoid in case he earns a Weidman rematch later in his career.
But none of that matters if he doesn't first get past Gastelum tomorrow night in "Sin City."