The UFC light heavyweight division has been thrown up in the air with the news that champion Jamahal Hill has been forced to vacate the title.
Hill, who was hoping to book his first title defense against former champion Jiri Prochazka – who, ironically also relinquished the title due to injury – revealed in a YouTube video that he has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will require surgery before he can embark on his recovery. As a result, he has vacated the 205-pound title.
“I’m here with some news. I’m gonna be real right off the bat, it’s not the good news like we would hope,” he began.
“Everyone knows that I’ve been waiting for months now to face Jiri Prochazka to defend my belt and my title, and unfortunately we’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer for that to happen. I’ve unfortunately suffered an injury. I’ve ruptured my Achilles.
“This is one of those things that happens, you know? It’s a tough injury, it’s one of those that will require surgery and will require time and rehab and things for me to be out for a while.”
Hill then went on to explain that he would be relinquishing the belt, and referenced how his title chance came as a result of Prochazka’s untimely injury. Now Hill finds himself in the same position the Czech fighter found himself in, and he said he plans to follow his rival’s example.
“I was given an opportunity. I was given a blessing that came at the misfortune of someone else,” he said.
“Jiri Prochazka was the champion. he suffered an injury, as these things happen, and he gave up the title. He gave up the belt and allowed for others to not hold the division up, to keep the division moving forward, to keep it entertaining, and to make sure that people had a champion. And I’ll do the same.
“Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on my recovery, focusing on getting back to 100 percent. I need to take some time to focus on my health and make sure that I’m 100 percent and I’m the fighter that everybody knows who I am, and that I’ve been since I’ve stepped into this. And, in order to do that, I need to focus on healing and getting ready, rehabbing.”
Hill then gave thanks to the people around him, including the UFC, for their support as he looks to embark on a lengthy road to recovery.
“To everybody that supports me, I will do everything I can to be back in front of you 100 percent healthy, and as soon as possible, wtihin reason,” he said.
“I want to say I appreciate the UFC, they’re taking care of me, they’ve got my back fully, 100 percent, on this and are with me on my road back to recovery.
“I’ve been promised that I will fight for my title immediately, as soon as I am able. And as well as the other things that come with that. And yeah, man, it’s just part of the story. No matter what it is, history is going to be written. This is just a part of history now . It’s just a test – I’m being tested – and I will stand up to the challenge as a man, and as a champion.
“I’ll see you all soon. I already know I’m the real champion. I’m the true champion, and I can’t wait to prove it, and I can’t wait to be back putting on a show for all of you.”
With Hill out for the foreseeable future, the two top-ranked fighters in the division are currently former champion Prochazka and Russian contender Magomed Ankalaev, with another former champion. Neither is currently booked for a fight. The division’s third-ranked contender, former champion Jan Blachowicz, is scheduled to face former middleweight champion Alex Pereira at UFC 291 in Salt Lake City on July 29.