Exclusive: Jamahal Hill Says Jiri Prochazka is ‘Good to Go’ for Title Fight, Offers Prediction for Pereira vs. Blachowicz

Jamahal Hill spoke about the status of the light heavyweight division and confirmed that former champion Jiri Prochazka is ready to return.

Jamahal Hill
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Reigning light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill revealed that former titleholder Jiri Prochazka is fully healed following shoulder surgery and that the UFC is in the process of locking down a date for their highly anticipated clash. 

‘Sweet Dream’ has reigned over the division since his impressive decision victory over former champion Glover Teixeira at UFC 288 in January. Six months later, Hill is yet to make his first title defense, but according to the man himself, a long-awaited title fight between himself and Jiri Prochazka is closely approaching. Speaking with Mike Owens in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview, Hill confirmed that over the last few months, he has been enjoying his time off, calling it a “champ-cation,” but is ready to get back to work. He’s just waiting for his opponent and the timing to line up.

“Just waiting on Jiri. Trying to figure out a time when everything makes sense with that and things like that. I’ve recently been told he’s good to go now. It’s just about making a date, so we’re gonna find a date,” Hill said.

Hill also confirmed that Prochazka will definitely be his next opponent inside the Octagon. 

“Yeah, that’s the one we want to get done,” Hill added. 

Jamahal Hill Believes It’s An Exciting Time for Fighters at 205

The UFC’s light heavyweight division was once considered the promotion’s marquee weight class, featuring some of the biggest names in MMA history, including Chuck Liddell, ‘Rampage’ Jackson, ‘Shogun’ Rua, and Jon Jones. Today, the division is nowhere near as celebrated as it once was, but Jamahal Hill believes the tide is beginning to turn. 

“I think there’s a lot of fun matchups. A lot of different matchups that we haven’t seen,” Hill said. “It’s a great time for the light heavyweight division. It’s competitive. It’s unpredictable. It’s a lot of things. I personally think it’s a fun division. If you like sports, the thing about sports is unpredictability. The highest of highs, lowest of lows. Surprises and all of those things. And it seems like now people have gotten to a point where it’s like, ‘I want to be able to expect this one dude running through a whole division which is what makes a division great,’ which is dumb as hell to me. 

“I think we’re at a good spot. We had a bad… A rough patch last year with a lot of injuries. A lot of really good fighters and good talent. They’re healing up. They’re doing the things to come back, and I think we’re about to be loaded for fun times at the 205 division.”

One of those exciting light heavyweight fights will feature former middleweight champion Alex Pereira making his divisional debut against former 205-pound king Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291 on July 29. Asked for his prediction, “Sweet Dreams” said:

“I think the winner of that is the number one contender,” Hill continued.”Who wins the fight? I don’t know. I’d give the edge in the fight to Jan for the simple fact that Jan can strike. He has the ability to outstrike Pereira, plus the ability to take him down, tie him up, wear on him, and beat him if he’s able to expose the lack of grappling in [Pereira’s] game.”

Hill also expects Alex Pereira’s legendary power to be slightly dulled when fighting bigger, stronger, and harder-hitting opponents at 205 versus those he competed against at middleweight. 

“His power is not going to count for as much as it was at the middleweight division. At the middleweight division, whenever he hit them, they had to really address it. They couldn’t really roll it off. It made it harder to counter just because of the kind of power that he carried at middleweight. I don’t think that’ll be the same case at 205. He will have to be more of a tactician.” 

‘Sweet Dreams’ Says Light Heavyweight Fighters are More Well-Rounded Than Those at Middleweight

In general, Hill believes the skill sets of light heavyweight fighters are greater than those at middleweight, adding to his prediction Pereira will face much stiffer competition in his move to 205.

“I think the mixed martial arts skills as far as well-roundedness, being able to go from striking to grappling, is more well-rounded in the 205 division than it is in the middleweight division. If you look at it, many of the guys in the middleweight division are primarily specialists.”

Recently, Jamahal Hill was in a bit of a back-and-forth with Bellator MMA light heavyweight Corey Anderson. Following his big win over Phil Davis at Bellator 297. ‘Overtime’ went on record, claiming that he was one of the top three best 205-ers in the world, a list he purposely omitted Hill from. The promotion itself has also gone on record, claiming to have the best light heavyweight division out there. Asked for his response, ‘Sweet Dreams’ took a shot at another former UFC standout while discrediting the claims of both Anderson and Bellator. 

“I think it’s funny. Their heavyweight and light heavyweight double champion (Ryan Bader) was a guy who never even sniffed a title shot in the UFC. That shows you where ya’ll at, bro.”

Published on June 28, 2023 at 3:22 pm
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