Nate Diaz and Ryan Hall have actually met on the mats on several occasions over the years, with this particular instance coming in the gi in 2007 when the pair fought in the finals of the purple belt division of the US Open XII. This was long before either man became the household names that they are today but they were both already pretty far into their respective combat sports careers. While both of them were still purple belts at the time, they were both on the verge of doing some amazing things in the world of BJJ and MMA.
Nate Diaz is something of an anomaly of course, seeing as he had started doing MMA at the age of 17 and even at this early point in his career, he was already closing in on ten professional fights in the sport. This match with Hall actually took place in the same year that he beat Manvel Gamburyan in the final of the Ultimate Fighter 5 and earned himself a UFC contract. Diaz then went on to have well over twenty fights under the UFC banner and even challenged for the Lightweight world championship at one point, while still progressing in BJJ and eventually becoming a third degree black belt.
Ryan Hall on the other hand took a slightly different path to Nate Diaz after this match in the gi, although their final point was remarkably similar. Hall had only had one MMA fight by the time this match took place in 2007 and it would be around five years before he ever took another one, as he was focusing heavily on his BJJ career instead. Hall went on to win the ADCC North American Trials just two years later and came away with a bronze medal in the world championships in 2009. He then became well-known to the wider public outside of the BJJ community in 2011 when he was caught on camera handling an angry member of the public with incredible ease.
Hall also went on to win an edition of the Ultimate Fighter, TUF 22 in 2015. Unfortunately though, Hall’s professional MMA career has been marred by injuries ever since he earned his UFC contract. His elite leglocking skills have served him well regardless, but issues outside the cage have meant that he’s struggled to fight more than once a year since then his UFC debut. His progress through the Featherweight rankings have been slow as a result, but he’s still been able to register some impressive wins over the likes of BJ Penn and Darren Elkins.
The footage of Nate Diaz taking on Ryan Hall in the gi in the purple belt finals of the US Open XII in 2007 was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Jiu Jitsu World:
Or for more of our articles looking into moments throughout BJJ history, visit our throwback archives.
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