Jamahal Hill knows who to expect as his first title challenger.
The UFC light heavyweight division has completely fallen apart at the top since Jiri Prochazka’s epic come-from-behind title win in June 2022. Submitting Glover Teixeira with a late Hail Mary rear-naked choke submission, Prochazka was set to run things back with his predecessor at the end of the year.
Unfortunately for “Denisa,” disaster struck during a training session leading up to his would-be first title defense. Prochazka suffered a shoulder injury, tearing ligaments and requiring surgery that ultimately led to his vacating of the title. Teixeira was pushed aside and the UFC 282 co-main event between Magomed Ankalaev and former champion Jan Blachowicz was elevated to the vacant title headliner. Stunningly, Ankalaev and Blachowicz fought to a majority draw, keeping the title vacant and creating an instant next pairing between Teixeira and Jamahal Hill for the following month.
Hill got the job done impressively, capitalizing on the big unexpected opportunity to earn a relatively one-sided unanimous decision against the savvy veteran and former titlist. Before Hill officially held gold, he already had his sights on Prochazka as a future opponent with the title on the line. The difference now is that the roles will be reversed when Prochazka is ready to return and Hill doesn’t expect things to be as competitive as he once did.
“I don’t feel like it has to be a war,” Hill told MMA Junkie of an impending Prochazka fight. “I feel like my skill level is vastly past that of his own. I feel like he’s a very physical dude. He’s strong, he’s got some natural physical attributes, but the skill and understanding on the level that I understand this s***? He’s not there.
“I was just watching his fights the other day. He’s not that guy. I can’t wait to get him in there. I truly can’t wait to get him in there so he can see what it’s like. It’s going to be funny. I’m going to beat the dog s*** out of that man.”
Prochazka has been about as entertaining as a fighter can hope to be throughout their career, seeing the judges’ scorecards only twice in 33 fights. Primarily a knockout artist with 25 of his 29 wins ending via knockout, Prochazka rocketed to UFC champion status in no time, needing only two wins over former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes before the Teixeira classic.
The road to recovery was expected to be a long one for Prochazka, which is why he let go of his freshly achieved belt. The Czech Republic native may have the Wolverine-like abilities he anticipated, however, as roughly six months post-injury could be when he’s ready to go, according to Hill. If not, the champion will take whoever else is ready.
“I’m hearing maybe August [in Boston] — hopefully we get that in and get that contract soon,” Hill said. “I’m not trying to wait past August. That’s all I know. I don’t want to wait past summer. Whether it’s Jiri or whoever steps forward, I’m ready to get it in.
“Whoever steps forward [if Prochazka isn’t ready], because right now, no one else makes sense, for real. Some guys are going to have to make some leaps or whatever to put themselves out and separate themselves from the pack. Whoever that is, that’s who I’ll take on.”
Results. Dominick Cruz: Henry Cejudo win at UFC 288 would’ve been ‘catastrophic’ for 135 division
Matchup. Paddy Pimblett responds to Matt Frevola callout; Frevola willing to wait and potentially fight on NYC card
Prediction. Sean O’Malley expects to ‘shock the world’ against Aljamain Sterling in Boston
Rankings. Is Henry Cejudo a top 5 bantamweight again after narrow UFC 288 loss?
Onward. Henry Cejudo calls out Merab Dvalishvili for UFC Boston, Dvalishvili responds
Suspensions. Gilbert Burns out indefinitely pending clearance for left shoulder
Changes. Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill now set to headline May 20 UFC event in Las Vegas
The MMA Hour.
UFC Charlotte promo.
10 things O’Malley can’t live without.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Response to the “Chaos.”
Lawyers can’t help u with what i will do to u in that cage— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) May 8, 2023
I have no problems with fights, if they gave me a fight, I would have fought a long time ago, I did so many training camps and not one fight, the problem is definitely not with me, prepared in dubai then to thailand, why do I train so much if there is no fight, I don’t understand— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) May 8, 2023
This day last year, I woke up as UFC Champion ! 1 year later, I wake up and I’m 20 weeks pregnant . Life is a trip! pic.twitter.com/doLecfs4Lc— Carla Esparza (@CarlaEsparza1) May 8, 2023
the moment yan xiaonan got the first round KO over jessica andrade pic.twitter.com/6g7aWkvgfI— Conner Burks (@connerburks) May 8, 2023
Honestly I don’t care who I fight next. This whole division is light work #KingLeon— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) May 7, 2023
Unfinished business you can’t hide anymore— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) May 8, 2023
As discussed on the MMA Hour today, I’m going thru the tasting process for the rums we will be creating! I’m very proud to be starting this and I want to be sure the end product is something myself and the consumers will love! Cheers! #FunkHarbor #BevsKnight pic.twitter.com/rcMME3w3PR— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) May 8, 2023
Silly white belts.
Its so bad ass when famous people choose to compete in combat sports. Those who are famous in combat sports get famous because they’re good & win a lot. But to already be famous means you have eyes on you as a white belt, whether you suck or not. And everyone sucks at white belt. https://t.co/sSs929LSXj— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) May 9, 2023
McGregor Forever is out May 17th only on @Netflix. You’ll get a ringside seat for some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced, how I bounced back, and why I’m still the man to beat in the UFC. pic.twitter.com/rh7BhwXodo— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 9, 2023
The art of timing.
Jon Anik with the elite Manscaped ad read pic.twitter.com/IF7y3jX0Zy— Ben Davis (@BenTheBaneDavis) May 9, 2023
Back at it.
The UFC light heavyweight division as a whole feels like it’s been entirely forgotten since UFC 282. Eagerly anticipating the return of our samurai king.
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