Prior to the kickoff for the Ultimate Fighter: Jones vs. Sonnen this year, UFC President Dana White revealed that there was one fighter that literally scared all of the other competitors on the show.
The theorizing then began with every fighter on the list being looked at and picked apart from past fight footage, as everyone played detective before the season started.
Following the debut episode, New York based fighter Uriah Hall was the one most pegged as this terrifying figure that went from nice guy to boogeyman whenever he stepped inside the cage.
Outside of the cage, Hall is as soft spoken as any fighter on the planet, but once he's locked inside with an opponent he transforms into a flashy, dynamic and explosive weapon that certainly set the bar pretty high from day one in the Octagon.
"So far it's been cool, it's been positive, of course there's going to be some haters, but what are you going to do about that? Sometimes it's a little bit overwhelming, but I'm handling it," Hall told Bleacher Report when asked about the reaction he's received from fans through two weeks of the show.
Looking at Hall's style, it's easy to draw comparisons to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who can be equally as creative whenever he's in a fight, so it seemed natural that the two would combine forces on the show.
Unfortunately, Jones didn't pick Hall right away and instead coach Chael Sonnen picked up the Jamaican to be a part of his team. At first, Hall was a little bit sad because he appeared on the show believing that it was a natural fit for him to end up on Team Jones.
After spending the better part of six weeks under the tutelage of Chael Sonnen, Hall is more than confident he ended up on the right team.
"I was very excited I ended up on Chael's team. In the beginning I really didn't know what to expect of him because going in there I was like I get to work with Jon Jones, that will be cool, I'll get to learn some cool stuff. I think I was at a point in my life where I already knew how to do a lot of those things physically, but mentally it would have been better and what Chael taught me is one of the best things I didn't think any martial artist could learn," Hall explained.
"It’s not just staying positive, it's not just staying mentally strong, it's that and it's pretty much just patting yourself on the back. That was one of the things that I wasn't doing that he told me. He's like you'll do things, but you don't pat yourself on the back. I'm so used to what's next, I accomplished this, what's next. It just made me feel really good about myself as an individual and how far I've made it."
Following the first episode of the show, Sonnen and his coaching staff showed up at the Ultimate Fighter house and Sonnen immediately singled out Hall as the man he wanted to fight for him next after the debut bout between Team Sonnen's Luke Barnatt and Team Jones' Gilbert Smith. That kind of confidence from your coach goes a long way according to Hall, and he appreciated Sonnen having faith in him from the start.
"It definitely feels good to have your coach behind you 100-percent, and to speak for Gilbert (Smith) it sucks not having your teammates trust you or having the confidence in him and you should have it. Like Jones said on the show, at the end of the day, it's all about you. What I can say to that is if I don't have the confidence or my coaches don't have the confidence in me at all, at the end of the day it revolves around me, cause then I have to find that confident. I have to motivate myself," said Hall.
Hall will get the chance during Tuesday night's episode of the Ultimate Fighter to showcase his skills and prove that Sonnen made the right choice in picking him for his team.
Win, lose or draw, Hall is very happy with the way things played out on the show, and he will now happily call on Chael Sonnen for help whenever he needs it.
"It was just the best coaches overall, just the way they were with us, they were very motivating, very inspiring, and Chael knew exactly what to say," said Hall. "One of the things he said that I always remember, he told me that emotions are fake, actions are real. You've got to pretty much not let emotions dictate your life, or who you want to be, you've got to make the move yourself."
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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