Veteran fighter Angela Hill is entering the biggest fight of her career later tonight (Sat., Sept. 12, 2020) at UFC Vegas 10 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, as she takes on perennial contender Michelle Waterson in the main event.
What makes Hill’s clash with “Karate Hottie” so much more special is the fact that she will become the first African-American woman to headline a UFC event. That’s a pretty big deal, especially for woman’s MMA and the African-American community.
Hill, who will be making her fourth Octagon appearance this year, understands the magnitude of the situation. With everything that has transpired across our country over the past few months with racial inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement, Hill is proud to be part of the story and in a position to create history later tonight for African-American female fighters everywhere.
“It’s big, and I didn’t even realize how big it was until (my manager) mentioned it to me,” Hill told reporters earlier in the week during UFC Vegas 10’s virtual media scrum. “I think in a time like this, people need heroes people need someone to look up to, someone to root for. And just the fact that this hasn’t happened yet is indicative of the fact that it is important.
“A lot of people would say, ‘Why does it matter?’ But if it doesn’t matter to you, that’s OK, but it does matter to the fans who see that and they’re like, ‘Finally, finally, we have some representation. Finally we have a face in this sport that we love, and we’ve been waiting for so long.’”
It’s crazy that Hill finds herself in this situation later tonight at UFC Vegas 10 because she wasn’t even supposed to headline the event in the first place. UFC Vegas 10 was expected to feature a main event clash between light heavyweight contenders Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira before Texiera tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the card. UFC didn’t have enough time to put together another headlining act so Waterson vs. Hill was bumped to the marquee spot.
It may not be the most ideal way to ring in her first main event bid since making her UFC debut back in 2014, but Hill isn’t complaining one bit. Instead, “Overkill” is excited to bring her talents back to the Octagon in the biggest spot of her career and help promote the Black Lives Matter movement the best she can.
“Its really cool to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Hill explained. “It’s really important, and I think people try to pretend that it’s not and call it things that it isn’t because it’s hard to look at the violence. It’s hard to say there’s something wrong when you haven’t experienced it yourself.
“I think the reason it’s so important to Black people is because they’ve all had moments where they felt in danger or they felt they weren’t considered as human as their white counterparts, and it’s not something that disappeared when (former President Barack) Obama got elected. It’s not something that disappeared once cops got body cams. It’s something that’s still hurting the community right now. I think with the pandemic that’s going on right now, with just everything just being so divisive, it’s really brought it to light and made people pay attention to how hard the struggles are and the fact there needs to be some change.”
Hill, 35, will be competing in her 16th UFC fight later tonight in Vegas. Having won three out of her last four outings she’ll have a chance to take out Waterson and launch herself up the women’s strawweight ladder even higher. Hill will also put herself in a position to reach more fans than she ever has before in her main event debut. The platform will allow “Overkill” to be more than just a fighter on Saturday night.
“When people do reach out and say, ‘Hey, my daughter looks up to you. My girlfriend loves you. I hope my daughters can be as strong as you,’ when people reach out and say things like that, it’s always surprising, but it just makes me feel so happy that I didn’t give up,” Hill said. “It gives me that extra push when I just want to be like, ‘F-ck it, this isn’t worth it. It’s too hard,’ because fighting is hard, it’s really hard.
“It’s even harder when every time I’ve lost is on the UFC stage. I’ve never lost outside of the UFC, so having that magnifying glass on every win but also on every failure, people reaching out to me and saying stuff like that, it’s so special and it’s something that you can’t really explain. Representation is such an important thing to so many people.
“I remember when I was a kid, I wanted the Black Barbie because I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ I would always watch ‘Rugrats’ and get extra excited when Susie was on, so it’s just one of those little things that people who aren’t starved of it don’t realize that they would miss it if they don’t have it. If you’re white in America, you’ve never felt underrepresented.”
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