Jamahal Hill is the best MMA fighter you've never heard of
The UFC is in the midst of a generational shift. Fighters like Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, and Amanda Nunes are closer to the end of their storied careers, and a new breed of fighters must rise up.
A fighter showing flashes of potential greatness is making a name for himself in the light heavyweight division. We won’t blame you if you don’t know him, but you’ll likely be hearing his name soon — Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill.
Who’d have the mind to disagree?
Hill is a blue-belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner with a mean streak. As he has climbed the ranks in the light heavyweight division, he has put on a series of strong performances that suggest he is ready to up his game.
In his eight wins, he has scored four stoppages and one submission. After he earned his UFC contract in the 2019 edition of Dana White’s Contender Series, Hill put the division on notice with a comprehensive defeat of veteran Ovince Saint Preux.
Hill’s strong grappling defense allowed him to avoid a submission-minded Saint Preux, and Hill slumped Saint Preux with a series of shots to end the fight in the first round. The poise, control, and awareness Hill displayed was more akin to a legitimate contender, as opposed to a rising prospect.
Thriving in the spotlight is a critical skill, and Hill will get another chance to shine against capable veteran Paul Craig on March 20.
New blood at light heavyweight
Even though Jones has abdicated the throne to pursue heavyweight glory, his absence will be filled by the winner of the upcoming title bout between champion Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya at UFC 259.
There are several emerging talents and capable veterans still climbing the ladder, and Hill is in prime position to challenge them all. A win over a borderline top 10 contender could put him on the fast lane to a title shot.
The winner of Blachowicz/Adesanya will inevitably try to lure Jones back down in weight. When Jones understandably declines, Hill can stamp his ticket to a title fight against elite light heavyweights, such as the ageless wonder Glover Teixeira or Thiago Santos.
Hill will be built into a contender
Dominic Reyes was being built into a potential star, after he nearly knocked off Jones, but his loss to Blachowicz stalled that push. This is to Hill’s benefit, as he is an exciting fighter with the potential to take over the division in a few years. The UFC won’t pass up the chance to hype an undefeated fighter who came from its Contender Series, especially if he wins the fights mentioned above.
Time will tell Hill’s story, and the UFC is often a dangerous place for prospects who climb too high, too fast. From what we’ve seen, Hill is a fighter you won’t want to sleep on.