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Queens' Uriah Hall seeks 'personal' win over Rafael Natal at UFC 187

Uriah Hall fought through a broken toe in

Uriah Hall fought through a broken toe in the first round to win a unanimous decision over Thiago Santos in a middleweight bout at UFC 175 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on July 5, 2014. Credit: Mario Gonzalez

LAS VEGAS - Some people root for the bad guy in the movie. Others want to see the bad guy get his comeuppance before the credits roll.

Put Uriah Hall in the latter category and make the movie a mixed martial arts fight inside the UFC's octagon.

"I don't have to hate a guy, but when I do, oh man, it makes it so much better," Hall said. "It's great motivation. The more I don't like you, the more interesting my fight is, so I hope he brings his best."

Hall, who emigrated from Jamaica the country to Jamaica, Queens, as a young boy, fights fellow New York middleweight Rafael Natal at UFC 187 Saturday at the MGM Grand. Hall said he doesn't like Natal for reasons he declined to elaborate on. Both fighters weigh- ed in at 186 pounds yesterday. Their staredown was heated, with Hall pushing Natal away with his hand.

The prelim bout, which Hall called "kinda personal," airs on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m., with the pay-per-view headlined by two title fights including middleweight champion Chris Weidman of Baldwin starting at 10 p.m.

Hall (11-4, 3-2 UFC) exploded on the national MMA scene with a series of devastating highlight reel knockouts on Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter." Popular sentiment put Hall on the fast track to stardom. Two straight losses to begin his UFC career changed the tone.

"When I lost, the whole world was like . . . we thought you were this but you're not,' " Hall said. "So if I gave into that, what does that make me?

"In a world that's constantly trying to change you, the hardest thing to do is be yourself."

Hall has won his last three fights, including two first-round TKOs. Natal (19-6-1, 7-4-1) won his last two fights by unanimous decision.

"I started feeling very comfortable in the cage after my last fight," said Natal, who grew up in Brazil and now teaches and trains at Renzo Gracie's jiu-jitsu academy in Manhattan. "We are very confident we are going to finish this fight. Not early, but the first or second round, we're going to knock him out or submit him."

Natal said he has never fought someone with Hall's karate background outside of sparring for this fight, but added "he never fought against somebody who has jiu-jitsu like me."

Hall didn't seem too concerned about Natal's ground game.

"He likes to hug and stuff," Hall said. "We're not gonna play that card. We're gonna beat him up standing. If he goes to the floor, I guess I'll have to beat him at his own game."

Hall's mission is clear.

"My job is to go out there and take you out," Hall said. "Not only in devastating fashion, but a really cool devastating fashion."

New York Sports