Uriah Hall is entering the most high-profile fight of his career tomorrow night (Sat., Oct. 31, 2020) at UFC Vegas 12 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, as “Prime Time” welcomes back former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for his final trip to the Octagon.
This is obviously a big spot for Hall given the attention surrounding “Spider’s” final UFC fight, but also because he’s facing a guy he was compared to when he first entered the promotion over seven years ago.
While Hall hasn’t quite lived up to the hype — producing an 8-7 record inside of the Octagon — he still possesses serious potential as a current member of the division’s top 10. As a matter of fact, the 36-year-old Hall has looked even better late into his career. With a 3-1 record over his last four trips to the cage, “Prime Time” seems to be piecing things together much later than anticipated.
“I feel like Benjamin Button,” he told UFC.com.
Hall’s head coach at Fortis MMA, Sayif Saud, shares the same outlook. It may have taken Hall longer to get where he needs to be, but Saud believes the timing is perfect.
“I call him ‘Benjamin Button,’ because the older he gets, the better he gets,” said Saud. “When Uriah is on, he’s the best fighter at that weight class.”
There’s no doubting that Hall is one of the most exciting fighters at 185 pounds when his mind and body are equally aligned, but that doesn’t seem to happen to often. When matched up against the highest level of competition, such as Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, and even Derek Brunson, Hall seems to fade under the bright lights.
It doesn’t help that Hall entered UFC needing to live up to the comparisons to Silva, which may have actually ruined his early trajectory as a fighter.
“First, I think if you put expectations on things, you’re setting yourself up to fail,” said Hall. “I can look back and say, ‘Coulda, woulda, shoulda’ with the fights that I’ve lost, the fights that I’ve won, the Uriah that showed up, blah blah blah, but I’m exactly where I need to be and it again goes back to listening to the critics, listening to the media.”
“We have a short life span in this, and we can only go so far,” continued Hall. “If our body doesn’t destroy us, the critics, the media will play a part in destroying our careers.
“So, with all due respect to everybody, ‘f—k everybody.’ We’re here to do work and do our best.”
While Silva has only won once since 2012 he still can’t be overlooked at 185 pounds. The guy is the best fighter in the history of the division and someone who went three hard rounds with the current champion, Israel Adesanya, less than two years ago. So even though most are writing “Spider” off in his final walk to the cage the all-time great still has some magic left in his hands.
Luckily for Hall, he understands the competition surrounding him at 185 pounds. It has provided him the right mindset entering Saturday’s main event clash with Silva, which will give Hall the opportunity to prove he’s ready for the next step.
“I have nothing bad to say about any of these fighters anymore because we’re all lions in a room filled with lions,” said Hall. “When you get people that talk sh-t, we call those hyenas, and what do lions do to hyenas? They f—k them up, but if you’ll notice, hyenas are nothing by themselves.
“I’m a lion in a room filled with lions and we’re all trying to chase that gazelle and make it.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 12 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.