Jamahal Hill has come to terms with his first MMA loss. And it didn’t take all that long.
Hill (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who is one of the most highly touted prospects in the UFC light heavyweight division, had his undefeated record snapped in dramatic fashion in June courtesy of a first-round stoppage loss to Paul Craig at UFC 263.
It was a gruesome result, with Hill getting caught in an early armbar/triangle choke combination that he couldn’t escape. He fought mightily to, but Craig (15-4-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC) twisted and dislocated his arm in a grizzly manner before landing strikes that finally forced the referee to step in and deem it a TKO.
Hill came into the fight brimming with confidence that he would make an example of Craig. The result ended up being the exact opposite of that, and Hill got served a piece of humble pie. Hill said he didn’t even need to leave the cage to get a full taste of it, though, and he takes on all the blame.
According to Hill, he badly underestimated Craig and thought the performance was going to be a layup. Then he got a reality check.
“I already knew what I had done right when it happened, I knew the error I had made,” Hill told MMA Junkie Radio. “Me losing is nothing short of me paying for disrespecting the game. I disrespected the game in a way that, anybody who loves this game and strives in this game – which is most of the top guys – they don’t do. If you want to be one of those top guys you don’t do what I did.
“I felt like all I had to do is show up. I truly, truly felt like all I had to do it show up. Any concerns or anything I might have been unsure of or any narratives, I filled it with arrogance. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. It was just flat out arrogance. I was taught a lesson and I can’t be that way.”
Hill confirmed his arm was “completely dislocated” in the loss. He’s “slowly but surely” recovering nearly three months later, but said he’s not yet at 100 percent health. That’s why his next fight against Jimmy Crute – originally targeted for October – has been pushed back to UFC Fight Night on Dec. 4.
The additional time is only going to be helpful when Hill gets back in the octagon, and he said he’s coming in with a new mentality.
Hill no longer has the spotlight of being an undefeated, heavily-hyped prospect. It was a big burden to carry, he admitted, but now he can move forward and hopefully rebound with a win against Crute (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC).
“In a way (being undefeated) was a pressure that I wanted,” Hill said. “It was a goal, a dream of mine to stay undefeated for the entirety of my career, but it was a pressure. … Jimmy Crute beat Paul Craig. In a way it’s kind of like a way for me to get something back.”
Paul Craig def. Jamahal Hill at UFC 263: Best photos
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