Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been known to act quickly when it comes to booking last-second replacement fights, but have we ever seen a championship title fight booked before the current fighters competing for said title have even left the cage?
Following a generally disappointing Light Heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 282 that ended in a split draw, UFC booked a surprise fight between Jamahal Hill and Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 for the same belt. According to Hill, he got the phone call before Blachowicz and Ankalaev even left the cage after their bout.
“Literally, before they even left the cage, my phone rang,” Hill said in an interview with CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri. “It was my manager and he let me know that they wanted me vs. Glover for the belt in Rio. I said, ‘Yes.’
“Right away, initially, I was thinking six weeks is close,” he continued. “We need to get right back to business. I sustained an injury in my last fight so I’ve been taking care of that. I just started working my way back into the gym and things like that. We would have liked a little more time but it is what it is. Six weeks is a lot of time.”
Hill also revealed that UFC had called him when Jiri Prochazka injured his shoulder and it was looking at alternative contenders for their UFC 282 title fight.
“They called and offered me a number one contender’s fight against either Jan Blachowicz or Magomed,” Hill said. “They said they didn’t know which one it would be for sure. I thought one of them was hurt. They didn’t say it was Jiri. It was two weeks out. The weight cut and where I was at, it wasn’t going to work.”
As for Anthony Smith, who was supposed to fight Hill in March before this post-UFC 282 shake-up?
“I’d be a little salty [if I was him],” Hill admitted. “I’d be frustrated, more so with uncertainty. He wants to fight, he wants to work. We see it all the time. He’s down for whoever. Right now, there’s nobody for him so that kind of sucks.”
Hill faces Glover Teixeira for the still-vacant 205-pound title on Jan. 21, 2023, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Also on the UFC 283 card: the fourth fight between Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and interim champion Brandon Moreno, and a Welterweight fight between Gilbert Burns and Neil Magny.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 283 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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