Ryan Hall, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 22 lightweight tournament and a multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, has not stepped into the Octagon for 16 months.
Hall has faced significant challenges in finding opponents in the past, but he managed to make two appearances in 2021. However, his unconventional fighting style failed him at UFC 264, where he suffered a knockout loss to Ilia Topuria. Nonetheless, he bounced back five months later and won a decision victory over Darrick Minner.
Since his win at UFC 269, Hall has been unable to secure any fights due to his ongoing battle with injuries. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura, the 38-year-old Virginia native shared that he has undergone a staggering 16 surgeries since his last UFC fight. As a result, Hall has been forced to focus on his own recovery rather than pursuing his signature grappling style in the Octagon.
“Bit of a saga. I spent about 10 years not being injured, and then I got a couple (instances of) bad luck,” Hall said. “Like, getting fallen on a couple times, tore a hip flexor really badly prior to my first fight in 2021, had a really, really bad tear in the bottom of my foot… broke my hand first fight in 2021… I had that fight in December, went into the next year and was going to do ADCC, some competitions, and actually agreed to a fight in August of 2022, but unfortunately got fallen on, tore my ACL, tore my meniscus.
“Long and short of it, it’s been 16 surgeries since. But we’re on the back end of it. I just had one on Tuesday. But it’s fortunately going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to being back healthy, feeling better than I have in a very, very long time, and looking forward to competing again soon,” Hall continued. “The ACL was really bad and I got a septic infection.” – Hall said
Hall has set his sights on an octagon return this fall, and provided an update on his future plans and timeline in a recent interview. He mentioned that he will first compete in the grappling realm against Ashley Williams for the lightweight title in the Polaris 24 headliner on June 3. However, Hall emphasized that his priority remains in MMA and he aims to schedule two fights later this year.
“I think we’re good from now forwards,” Hall said. “Looking forward to competing at Polaris in June. That’ll be a grappling match. That’ll be a good test to the body to see how we are about getting back in the UFC… Absolutely (I want to return to MMA). MMA is all I care about… I spent years in the rankings and then got dropped for inactivity because of bad luck and people not being willing to fight.
“I managed to end 2021 on a good note. I just wanna get back to pushing forward, and growing and learning, moving forward to fight the best guys I can,” Hall added. “My hope is to compete around, realistically like August or September, and then try to get two in this year.”
Despite not having competed recently, Hall has remained involved in the UFC scene. He recently assisted Cory Sandhagen in his preparations for the UFC San Antonio event, where Sandhagen secured a win over Marlon Vera. As an elite BJJ practitioner, Hall’s contributions to Sandhagen’s training likely played a significant role in his success.