Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt and UFC featherweight Ryan “The Wizard” Hall has had a difficult time finding a top-ranked opponent to fight. Currently ranked at #13 in the division, Hall has a professional record of 8-1 and is undefeated in his four UFC bouts.
On Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Hall spoke to Helwani about his issues finding a suitable match-up.
Hall lives in Falls Church, Va., and he was asked by Helwani why he didn’t fight on the Washington D.C. card or why he isn’t competing in the event coming to Norfolk, Va.
UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik took place in Washington D.C. in December, and UFC Fight Night: Benavidez vs. Figueiredo takes place this Saturday in Norfolk.
Hall answered, “I’m not entirely sure. I guess it’s been a little bit of a struggle to find an opponent. I’ve been directly turned down or been told they’re unavailable from 12 all the way down to six.”
As mentioned, The Wizard is officially ranked #13 in the featherweight division. Starting at #12, up to #6, the rankings are listed as Shane Burgos, Jose Aldo, Calvin Kattar, Josh Emmet, Jeremy Stephens, Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar.
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Hall May Be ‘Effectively Frozen Out’ of the Top of the Featherweight Division
During the interview, Helwani asked The Wizard if he feels like he’s been “frozen out.”
Hall answered that it was hard to explain the situation. He told the journalist that he had been directly turned down by Josh Emmet and Renato Moicano. He also mentioned to Helwani that Moicano, Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo are part of the reason there is a log jam at 145.
All three men are ranked in the top 10 of the featherweight division, but they are not currently competing in the division. It has been reported that Aldo is fighting Henry Cejudo for the bantamweight title at UFC 250. Edgar has expressed interest in moving down to the bantamweight division as well, and Moicano is scheduled to fight Damir Hadzovic in a lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 170 on March 14.
If these three fighters weren’t ranked at featherweight, presumably there would be more top-contender options for Hall.
Hall told the journalist, “It seems like there is a bit of a log jam that’s difficult to deal with. And I can’t say that I’m being frozen out, but maybe effectively frozen out.”
Ryan Hall Is Ready to Fight and Hopes to Compete in May
The Wizard confirmed to Helwani that he was potentially ready to fight on the Washington and Norfolk cards. At this point, he is hoping to fight in May against the “toughest opponent possible.” Hall also mentioned that he would be willing to step in as a replacement if either #2 ranked Brian Ortega or #3 Zabit Magomedsharipov were to get injured. The UFC hasn’t announced a fight between the two featherweights, but Dana White told the media that he was working on a match between them.
Helwani asked Hall who he would choose to fight in the featherweight division, and he picked Brian Ortega. The Wizard respects Ortega’s resume and skills and thinks it would be a great fight. Hall reiterated that he wants to fight someone who “wants to fight me.”