If there was one thing that stood out about The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes throughout the series, it was the relationship that Australian lightweight Ben Wall had with the British fighters, and in particular Colin Fletcher. Throughout the course of the show, Wall was always questioned about his attitude and demeanor.

With his portrayal on television, Wall was often seen as a negative person. In the history of the reality show, many other fighters had been portrayed in a similar way, most notably Charles McCarthy from the fourth season of the show. Some people will take it to heart; Wall, on the other hand, didn’t pay it too much heed.

“It didn’t really affect me at all. I didn’t watch too much of the show, so I didn’t really see how things played out. There was a lot that they didn’t show on screen though,” Wall revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

Although he did not come out of the series with a victory to his name, the experience itself was one that changed his career for the better.

“It was a good experience. I didn’t really achieve what I wanted to on the show, so now I just have to get to the UFC another way.”

In his first bout post-TUF Smashes, Wall is set to face a seasoned Australian lightweight fighter in Jai Bradney for the Nitro MMA lightweight championship in Brisbane on March 23.

Bradney has been around the Australian circuit for quite some time. He has won five of his last seven fights and in the past 13 months he has notched two victories in a row. Bradney’s name is often thrown around as one of the country’s best lightweight fighters, and he has a fierce reputation of being able to finish fights. Going into the fight, Wall has a great deal of respect for Bradney and knows that the two will put on a great show.

“It will be a great fight,” Wall explained. “I’m really looking forward to the test, and Jai is a great guy. We have both seen each other fight a few times, so we know each other’s style pretty well.”

Being based in Brisbane, Wall was excited about the prospect of fighting at home for the first time in a little under two years, and he has big plans for the fans in attendance at Nitro MMA 8. Wall is renowned for his zany fight entrances. In particular, his last fight on the Gold Coast when his corner men came to the ring dressed as zoo animals and a hunter, then they proceeded to chase him around the outside of the cage. He promises to top that this time around.

“My walkout is definitely going to top the Gold Coast one,” he said with a laugh. “I haven’t had many fights in Brisbane, so I’m looking forward to it. My last fight was on the Gold Coast, which is close enough to home, but it’s going to be even better getting to fight in Brisbane.”

Sporting an official record of six wins with one draw—although unsuccessful in his bout within the Smashes house—Wall hasn’t officially tasted defeat in his career. His last fight before going into the TUF Smashes series saw the 23-year-old defeat Rob Lisita on the Gold Coast via decision, but his experience on TUF has certainly changed his outlook on how things will go next time he enters the cage.

“I think that I have improved a lot since that fight with Rob, and I am a totally different fighter,” Wall admitted. “Things are going to be completely different in there. In this fight [with Bradney], I won’t be going to a decision; I am going to finish him.”

Earlier in the month, Wall announced that he would be dropping to featherweight after his next two scheduled fights, and whilst some fighters would use the change in weight division to try to compete on a more level playing field due to their stature, Wall sees it a little differently.

“Cutting weight is supposed to be a challenge. I can still eat whatever I want and make lightweight with no problems. I am sure I can get to featherweight, so I am going to make the drop.”

Along with the announcement of his planned weight cut came some more big news. After signing with Big Fight Management, Wall revealed that he will be packing up and leaving Australia to continue his training abroad, choosing to relocate to Canada. He saw this as an opportunity to travel and perfect his craft all at the same time.

“I don’t really have anything holding me to Australia, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” he explained. “I hope to do a lot of training in Canada and also go over to the [United] States. The fight game is just bigger in North America, and I think there will be plenty of opportunities for me there.”

Of course, when asked about friends and family, Wall was quick to clarify.

“There are a lot of things I will miss about Brisbane, and there are lots of good people here and I love going to local shows and checking out fights, as well as supporting teammates, but the way I look at it is that I will be back eventually.”

With such a high-profile bout on the Australian circuit scheduled before his departure, Wall would love nothing more than to “hit the ground running” and get overseas sporting a new piece of gold. Even though it would probably take him over his baggage limit, fans and promoters alike love to see fighters with championship credentials. The more gold that he can collect, the easier his path will be to getting a second shot at the UFC.

Ben would like to thank his sponsor, Raw Strength Queensland, and also his management company, Big Fight Management. Follow Wall on Twitter: @BenWallMMA

Photo: Ben Wall (MMA Mania)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.