While there have been flashes of brilliance in the past, they have often been followed by disappointing exits; moments that felt like the start of something special turned into lamentations about “what could have been” after another inconsistent performance.
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“It’s a mind game, and if I can really, really be honest about it: Fighting is 90% mental and I’ll admit it – I’ve doubted myself so many times, in so many times. fights, “Hall said, his voice wearing patches of excitement as his beard now bears hints of gray. “When I lost to Chris Weidman, I didn’t lose to Chris Weidman because I dropped my hands – I lost to Chris Weidman because I fought before this fight.
Hall and Weidman first crossed paths in the fall of 2010, when they were both emerging talents on the treacherous regional East Coast scene. He was 4-0 at the time, with four finishes, and the defending and reigning Middleweight Ring of Combat champion, while Weidman was a former college wrestler training with the Serra-Longo combat team. who had won first-round finishes in each of his first two fights.
At the start of the fight, all Hall heard about was Weidman’s struggle – that he was going to bring him down, that he was going to seek to crush him, that he didn’t want a game to get on his feet. – and he got it in his head.
“Before that I was firing everyone,” said Hall, who was 10-0 as a kickboxer in addition to his early MMA exploits. “I didn’t give a **** – that was my mentality. I was fighting guys who were so good and I was beating their *** because I didn’t care, and I got away from that mentality because I let fear get into my head.
Weidman won the first by technical knockout just over three minutes after the start of the first round.
“Fear is like that little drop of poison that, if you put it in a bucket of water, contaminates everything, and that’s what has happened to me most of my life.
“I let fear take hold of me. I let fear hold me back. I let the fear say, ‘Yeah Uriah, maybe you’re not that good. Yeah Uriah, maybe you could never be a champion. Yeah Uriah, maybe it’s not for you. Yeah Uriah, you really suck.