If you didn’t watch the prelims for UFC 232, then you didn’t see Hall roll into a beautifully executed, heel hook, which forced the legendary Penn to tap in the opening round (hopefully Penn’s okay). It marked the first time Hall had competed since December, 2016, when he defeated Gray Maynard via decision.
Well, after the highlight reel victory, Hall had this to say, while discussing his layoff and his next bout (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Honestly there’s a bunch of things,” Hall said. “I’ve got stuff going on at home. I actually just had a little boy. You never know – the fight game is unpredictable. On ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ I fought four times in probably three months, which is probably a little much unless you’re Donald Cerrone, in which case carry on. It’s tough. Both people have to sign up and I’ve accepted a bunch of other fights and unfortunately people were a little bit hesitant to get involved. B.J.’s not afraid of anybody. It was pretty neat to get to compete against someone with his skillset.”
“I want to fight the best people available, I want to fight someone in the top 10 or in the top 15,” Hall said. “Definitely at featherweight. I weighed in for this at 154. I’m a featherweight. It would be nice to face someone in the top 10, top 15 at least. I don’t really care about the rankings, I just care about he challenge of the opponent.”
Now, some might argue that defeating a fighter who has now lost six in a row, and who is 40-year’s old, shouldn’t move Hall into a fight with a top 15 ranked 145’er. Saturday’s contest was also contested at lightweight.
But, that argument might be overlooking several key points. First, while Penn isn’t the force he once was, at the end of the day, he’s still a pretty respected BJJ black belt. In fact, the loss to Hall marked the first time in Penn’s storied career that he’s been submitted.
Further, in Hall we’re talking about a fighter who has won seven straight bouts since his first and only loss, back in 2006. The 33-year-old won TUF 22 back in 2015 by defeating Artem Lobov, who, let’s remember, has been placed in several high profile bouts.
So, one could certainly argue that the timing is right to match Hall up against a top 15 ranked featherweight. But, will that happen?
Well, considering the depth of the featherweight division, Hall may need to record another victory before it does. After all, this is a division where the likes of Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez, Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas are on the outside of the top 10. But, you never know. Jung vs. Hall could be pretty interesting.