5 Things You Might Not Know About Ryan Hall

By Mark Raymundo Dec 28, 2018

UFC 232 is now available on Amazon Prime.

Since he started making a name for himself in mixed martial arts, Ryan Hall has been eyeing more challenging fights. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 22 winner last fought two years ago, claiming victory over former title challenger Gray Maynard.

This weekend, he will get his wish as he faces former two-division champion B.J. Penn, who despite coming off successive losses, has never been submitted in his career. Will Hall be the first to do it? Before two of the best grapplers in MMA collide at UFC 232, here are five things you might not know about “The Wizard.”

1. He coined the term “50/50.”

Jiu-jitsu practitioners are most familiar with the 50/50 guard, which involves competitors legs’ getting intertwined. While Hall wasn’t the first to use it, he is credited for giving it the name. He used it extensively and garnered success with the position even early in his career when he would use it to find foot locks and heel hooks. Lloyd Irvin, who was his instructor for some time, started releasing emails referring to it as the 50/50 guard, and it stuck.

2. He has shown the real-world effectiveness of jiu-jitsu.

A few years ago, Hall posted on YouTube a video of him using his art to defend himself against a drunken stranger inside a restaurant in New Jersey. From a takedown, Hall mounted and initially subdued the guy by securing wrist control so he couldn’t strike him or reach for any weapons if there were any. Hall released him, and in a second encounter that same night, he choked the guy unconscious. And just like that, he ended the confrontation without landing a single punch or kick.

3. Jiu-jitsu isn’t his first combat sport.

Unlike many of today’s high-level jiu-jitsu fighters who started as a kid, Hall caught the bug at 19 years-old. He first showed interested in Thai boxing, but after a few months of getting beaten up in his jiu-jitsu classes, he decided to devote more time for it. Then in July 2004, he entered his first jiu-jitsu tournament and has never looked back.

4. He quit school to focus on jiu-jitsu.

Hall became so enamored with jiu-jitsu that he quit studying electrical engineering in New York so he could focus his attention to it BJJ. Feeling that he picked up the sport rather late, he competed as much as he could. Hall eventually earned his black belt from one of his mentors, Felipe Costa. Some of his notable achievements include the World No Gi Championship, European Championship and Grapplers Quest Championship.

5. He has completely left jiu-jitsu competition for MMA.

Hall stopped competing in jiu-jitsu when he transitioned into MMA. After his first professional fight, he joined Tristar Gym in Canada and represented the team for the first time with a first-round TKO victory. He eventually joined and won TUF 22, where he used the 50/50 guard to stop one of his opponents by heel hook.

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