Ryan Hall has officially had enough. It’s one of the UFC’s worst kept secrets that the leglock expert has been avoided by virtually every anyone and everyone in the lighter weight-classes. Realistically, who can blame them? Not many fighters are going to jump at the chance to compete against someone who’s going to chip away at them from distance with a varied arsenal of front, side and hook kicks. Especially when that same fighter is just dying for you to close the distance so he can roll into the 50/50 position and take your ligaments home as a trophy.
Ryan Hall started his UFC career by winning The Ultimate Fighter 22 tournament in 2015 against Artem Lobov. It took a whole year after that for the UFC to find him another fight against Gray Maynard and Hall showed a much improved and diverse striking game on route to a Unanimous Decision win. It was genuinely surprising to see a veteran fighter like Maynard clearly unwilling to engage Hall on the ground, but even more surprising to see him being picked apart from distance on the feet.
It took even longer this time for Hall to be matched up as he waited just over two whole years before getting the fight against BJ Penn shortly before New Year’s Eve in 2018. Hall continued his legend-crushing tour in emphatic fashion with a first round submission victory, beating Penn via Heel Hook. He showed his newfound ability to blend his unique striking game with his elite-level leglock game by setting up an Imanari Roll with a beautiful leg kick and immediately getting the tap.
It seemed the UFC finally realized they had a legitimate star on their hands as they booked Hall into a match with Darren Elkins only six months later. Again, he took a comfortable Unanimous Decision victory and the message was clear: Ryan Hall deserves the best opponents that the UFC can find him.
It’s been six months since then and Hall seems genuinely fed up with being avoided, taking to Instagram to call out two shoe-ins for the UFC Hall of Fame. He explained that he’d always looked up to Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, primarily for their willingness to fight anyone, anywhere. This puts both fighters in the awkward position of having to take on one of the most criminally underrated fighters in UFC history, or do publicly what so many other fighters have done in private:
Avoid Ryan Hall like their career depends on it.