One of the major story lines heading into next weekend’s UFC 249 fight card in Jacksonville, FL is training. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and self-quarantine measures (as well as non-essential business closures) have put a serious crimp in the ability for fighters to stay sharp. For the rare few with home gyms, and/or those fighters who live with other fighters, they may be able to get by. But for many others, creativity is going to rule their camps if they want to compete any time soon.
In that sense, Uriah Hall may be ahead of the game. The Fortis MMA fighter, competing out of Dallas, TX was all set to go for his April 18th bout against Jacare Souza, first in Brooklyn, NY, then in Lemoore, CA, before government restrictions put a stop to those plans. But, as revealed in a recent feature for ESPN, Hall didn’t take the cancellation of his fight as an excuse to get out of the gym. More the exact opposite, really.
He packed a suitcase and moved in to the Fortis MMA facility full time - living alone there while he works with coach Sayif Saud - just to make sure that he’d be ready when the UFC came calling.
Fortunately for him, it wasn’t long before they did. He’s once again booked for the re-animated UFC 249 PPV event on May 9th, with Jacare Souza once again his opponent.
“If I’m on deck,” Hall told ESPN, “there are opportunities I can take.”
While Hall insists that the initial UFC 249 cancellation didn’t change his mindset at all he also spoke to the outlet about his growing realization that he’ll have to retire from MMA sooner or later. Something that could be a motivating factor fueling his decision to stay ready to fight now, whatever difficulties.
On the flip side, Jacare Souza’s fight camp doesn’t sound like it involved anything quite so bold as the lengths his opponent has gone to. Speaking to MMA Junkie, the former Strikeforce champion told the outlet that he’s been doing a lot of training at home. And that his wife’s crossfit weights and workouts have been a big part of keeping in shape.
“For me, it’s hard, because I have to use my wife’s weights,” Souza said. “She has a lot of crossfit stuff, and I have to use this. It’s hard. When I trained with her, it made me sore! My wife is so strong, and she helped me a lot.”
Still, Souza insists that he had “a very good training camp for this fight.” He may also benefit from the fact that with the event taking place in Florida, he’ll be able to drive to UFC 249 three days before his fight, rather than having to fly out. Under the circumstances, it may just be that every little advantage comes up big.