Everyone is talking about Tyron Woodley and Paulo Costa when it comes to the next big threat for reigning UFC middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya, when they should be talking about 185-pound striking sensation Uriah Hall.
Who has improved enough as a fighter to topple the current champ.
“I just feel like he could do it, and I think he can beat Israel,” Coach Sayif Saud told MMA Junkie. “I think he’s got way better hands than Israel does, and I think Uriah is dangerous on the feet, but that’s not taking anything away from Israel. Israel is the champ, and he’s the man, and he’s awesome.”
Hall (15-9) is coming off back-to-back wins over Bevon Lewis and Antonio Carlos Jr., good enough to land him at No. 10 in the 185-pound rankings. Unfortunately for “Prime Time,” his biggest losses over the last couple of years have come against former champion Robert Whittaker, as well as top contenders Paulo Costa and Kelvin Gastelum.
“[Adesanya] had a real close fight with Kelvin (Gastelum), which Uriah had a real close fight with Kelvin back in the day, too, so all those guys at middleweight are super dangerous, and I think Uriah could do it,” Saud continued. “I think because of his speed, his physicality and how he continues to improve all of his already impressive abilities, he’s dangerous.”
Adesanya, five years younger than Hall, has remained perfect in 19 trips to the cage and is expected to collide with Costa at some point later this summer. In the interim, “Prime Time” can back up some of his coach’s claims with a highlight-reel performance against Ronaldo Souza at UFC 249 this weekend in “The Sunshine State.”