Ryan Hall Didn’t Think BJ Penn Would Tap; Feels He Left BJJ Too Soon

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It’s been a week since Ryan Hall pulled out the rarest of submission victories over BJ Penn at UFC 232. The post mortem on the fight and Hall’s grappling style has been ongoing, with Hall himself admitting his lightning fast heel hook finish over the grappling great came as a surprise.

In an interview with The MMA Hour, Hall explained that going into the fight he felt it was “unlikely” Penn would tap and was expecting a more extended battle for the win. He continued that when he applied the heel hook which ended the fight, while he knew the submission was in deep he “didn’t expect BJ to tap.”

Hall went on to say any assessments that Penn submitted himself or defended the lock wrong are “unfair” to his opponent.

“I’ve seen some of the narratives that he made some sort of colossal error, and I don’t believe that to be accurate,” Hall said.

The interview also covered Hall’s regrets about leaving jiu-jitsu “too soon.”

“I left [BJJ] well before I was good enough to do the things I wanted to do,” he explained. “I elected to try to go to mixed martial arts because I wanted to try to learn how to fight ‘for real.’ I wanted to to see if my skills would translate into a more real arena, and jiu-jitsu has gotten further and further away from what I believe mixed martial arts to truly be at its core.” Hall left the competitive BJJ circuit to focus on striking and MMA at age 27 after building a name at competitions like ADCC.

“If you start MMA at 30 it doesn’t usually work out great,” Hall said.

The complete interview is available here:

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