Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Bohn

Uriah Hall won’t fight Yoel Romero ‘to survive,’ plans to ‘go after him’ and earn title shot

Uriah Hall expects that a win over Yoel Romero in August will do big things for his career.

Hall (15-9 MMA, 8-7 UFC) will have an opportunity to take a major leap forward in the middleweight pecking order on Aug. 22 when he meets Romero (13-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) in a key matchup for the weight class.

Several middleweights, such as champion Israel Adesanya, former champ Robert Whittaker and top contender Darren Till, have referenced Romero as being the “scariest” fighter in the division. Hall doesn’t disagree, and that’s why this matchup fills him with a genuine excitement.

“I’ve wanted Yoel for so long,”” Hall told MMA Junkie. “Yoel’s one of the best. He’s an elite. This is the baddest, toughest and now I’m realizing is the best sport in the world, and why would I not want to test myself against the best. If I’m going to be in the best sport in the world, why wouldn’t I want to go up against the best?”

After mixed results early in his UFC tenure, Hall believes he’s now in the midst of his prime. He’s riding consecutive wins over Antonio Carlos Junior and Bevon Lewis, and his newfound success coincides with a move to the Dallas-based Fortis MMA team under coach Sayif Saud.

Hall will be the first to admit the mental side of the sport has been his biggest hurdle, but he said he’s now in the best place he can be. He was ready to show exactly where he stands in May when he was scheduled to fight Ronaldo Souza at UFC 249, but then “Jacare” tested positive for COVID-19 and was pulled from the card one night prior.

Souza has been a perennial contender at 185 pounds for years, so it was difficult for Hall to not get that chance. But he said it ultimately led to a more substantial opportunity.

“I had to collect myself,” Hall said. “I dedicated so much being isolated with quarantine and COVID and not being able to train properly and low on calories because you couldn’t burn them a certain way. I just had to readjust right away and luckily I had good people in my corner like my mom who just said, ‘Listen, your disappointment is God’s appointment.’ Now, looking back it’s like, it didn’t happen, but it brought me to a better place.”

Hall said the fight offer for Romero lifted his spirits a great deal and gave him a new goal to focus on. Moreover, it added a more defined path to his overall career arch.

“I know the type of fights that will bring the best out of me stylistically and I’m trying to get to Izzy,” Hall said. “I’m trying to get to him and in doing so I think taking out Yoel was solidify that spot. If they want to throw Darren Till out there I would love to smash him too, but I’m just trying to climb the ladder.”

With Adesanya next expected to defend against Paulo Costa and top contenders Whittaker and Till scheduled to fight July 25, the matchup between Hall and Romero very much fits into the upper tier of important middleweight matchups.

Hall knows performances will likely determine who gets the next title shot, and being the first to stop Romero in the UFC would be a statement to everyone and get him the fight with Adesanya he’s been pushing hard for.

“I’m not trying to fight Yoel to survive, I’m trying to fight him to take him out,” Hall said. “I feel like I’m in my prime. I thought I was in my prime at 28, I’m definitely in my prime now. Regardless of what the UFC wants to give or show, I’m ready. I’m ready to show those attributes and a guy like Yoel, you’ve got to go after him. You’ve got to fight him. I just want to go after him. I’m excited to go after him. I’m not going to be reckless or careless because that dude hits like a truck, but I’m trying to get a title shot. My main focus is to get to the champ. I’m not even looking at the belt. Izzy is the trophy. I want to fight his style. That excites me more than a (expletive) belt.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.