Meet The Incredible Fighter Who Taught Himself Using Tekken

Fans of MMA most likely already know the name Uriah Hall. He's been the clear standout fighter in this season of The Ultimate Fighter and has already put two top class fighters in hospital with some seriously brutal knockouts. Turns out he actually started learning to fight by playing Tekken every single day and trying to copy the moves as best he could.

"I walked in and they were impressed with my kicks and the way I would just pick up stuff and they were like, 'where did you train?'" he says, in this pretty insightful interview with Vice's new MMA section Fightland. "I said, 'I never trained before'. I was embarrassed to say that I played Tekken all day, copied the moves and that's how I learned. I would play that video game so much. I'd go into practice mode and have the characters... the computer spar me back and forth like regular training. I'd just keep playing until I see something... visually it was almost as if my body just adjusted to it so when it came time to spar moves that I would see would come back like that!

"Everytime I saw a cool move on Tekken, I would just practice it till I got good at it and when I did it in training people said, 'what the hell is that!'"

This is a clip of Uriah in action. Be warned — it's pretty brutal.

Uriah Hall has decimated every fighter he has faced so far in The Ultimate Fighter tournament and fights in the final this weekend. Many observers, including his trainer on the show Chael Sonnen, believe he is already a contender for the UFC Middleweight title, which is currently held by the consensus best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.

Fightland Meets Uriah Hall [Fightland]


    He's pretty bloody good. I saw some of Tekken 5 and 6 recently, it had Jin in there doing some Kyokoshin which I practice. It's amazing the detail they go to in it, stances such as mosubodachi, moroshachidachi and higodachi which they nail spot on right down to his apparent breathing. The movement of the character, his kicks, punches and even timing are spot on. Best part was where he learnt it in Brisbane, Australia, it's hinted under Cameron Quinn (Australias foremost authority on Kyokoshin) (yes I know its a fictional story but Shihan Quinn is real). It just shows how much attention goes into this game.

    SO.... with that lengthy bit out of the way. This does not surprise me at ALL that someone can watch Tekken and get this much out of it. At all.

    Last edited 11/04/13 3:24 pm

      This is quite commonplace in Kyokushin. See for example. At 1:30, there's even a great knockout by Australian fighter Garry O'Neil, one of Shihan Quinn's premier students. Another good example of a great Kyokushin fighter is Lechi Kurbanov.

    Honestly, I'm not surprised. Urijah is an absolute monster. I would love to see him up against Anderson, but I feel like he needs to prove himself in the UFC first. Maybe Michael Bisping if he wins against Belcher at 159.

    So, seems like videogames do lead to violence after all...
    *runs out of room chased by angry mob*

    This is why Tekken is better than Street Fighter

      Well we won't know that for sure until a fighter comes along who trained himself by playing Street Fighter. Then we can pit them against each other in the ultimate battle to decide, once and for all, which game is the greatest.

        Or we could just like, you know, play SF X Tekken. Just sayin.

        Totally wanna see some fighter bust out a hadouken in the ring now... lol

          Uriah completes a hadouken after brutally knocking out his opponents.

          Ultimate Fighter Season 17 is the best season so far. Get it!

        and when the japanese give birth to mutant babies due to fukushima radiation, we can also have xmen vs streetfighter

      You just wait until someone pulls out a shoryuken in an MMA bout.

      But I learned my flaming uppercut straight from Streetfighter.

      Here...take my HADOUUUUKEN!!

    There's no J in Uriah.

    But god damn can this guy fight! His KO's in the Ultimate Fighter this season have been off the hook. Spinning back-kick of the century, and a two blow (knee to the body, straight right) KO in the quarters. He's a beast!

    Tekken / Namco Bandai hires professional martial arts experts to do their motion captures for certain if not all their characters. For example, Taekwon-do is Su-il Hwang from Tekken 5 (, Capoiera Mandinga is Master Marcelo Pereira from Tekken 5, etc. If you look at the crew credits for Tekken 5 for example, the "motion capture cooperation" are all the actors/martial artists (

    Ok, but everyone please remember: THIS GUY IS A FREAK ATHLETE. He could've been good at anything. He ending up choosing martial arts because he was picked one as a kid and well, Tekken haha

    the dude is a beast. the way he moves. his speed. the precision of his strikes. its phenomenal. his only 2 MMA losses are to costa phillipou and chris weidman. both top 10 ranked UFC middleweights. Haven't seen much of his ground game. could be a weakness or he could be just as good there. he has plenty of time to learn and grow anyway. i see a future champion in this guy.

    I just hope he doesnt wind up with Greg Jackson, AKA or any of the other big name camps. They produce champions, but also slowly erase any unique talents a fighter brings to the table. (There are some exceptions, but it takes a very special fighter not to fall in to the pit of homogenisation)

    Someone needs to turn the AI Difficulty up a little

    What a wonderful sport, I'm so glad we applaud such things in today's world, look at how much he f*cked up that other guy, isn't it grand, what a great specimen of a human. I understand not all people study neurology, or are even involved in health related occupations but I can never fathom why you'd need to do so to question why this shit is legal. I try to approach things rationally, but I can't rationally see how these types of sports are so popular so it makes me very cynical about it. When the stats say 90% of boxers will end up with some level of brain damage, it sickens me that anyone can cheer that on in good conscience.

    If I can get into the best physical shape possible, I can equal this man. I have taught myself the same way he did. Only difference is, I'm younger than him.

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