Jamahal Hill wouldn’t mind taking a quick detour to answer the call from a fellow UFC champion after capturing the light heavyweight belt.
Following his victory over Glover Teixeira at UFC 283, Hill made it clear that former champ Jiri Prochazka is his top target for his first title defense. Prochazka is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury and hopes to return by the summer, however there’s a chance his recovery could take longer than expected. If that happens, another intriguing name has already volunteered for the challenge: UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira.
The former two-division GLORY titleholder recently commented on Hill’s Instagram page with a callout for a champion vs. champion showdown, writing, “I heard Prochazka is injured. What about knocking me out?” Pereira captured the 185-pound belt in November with a fifth-round TKO of Israel Adesanya and is a protege of Teixeira’s. So if Pereira wants to try his hand at avenging Teixeira, Hill is more than happy to welcome him to 205 pounds.
“S***, what’s popping? What the f*** you think?” Hill said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “What’s popping? We can get that cracking. If he wants to come on up and try his luck with that s***, come on in. I’m not ducking, I’m not scared of nobody, and I take very seriously the challenges. It gives me extra incentive to f*** you up.
“I said I think I’d knock him out — and I do. It ain’t like I didn’t say s***. I said that s***. If he feels some type of way about it, show me. I’m in the ‘show me’ business.”
Coincidentally, Hill and Pereira are similar sizes — both stand 6-foot-4 tall with 79-inch reaches. Pereira also held the light heavyweight title in GLORY Kickboxing (209.4 pounds) as recently as early 2021, so he has plenty of experience fighting in the weight class.
The champion vs. champion matchup would also have an easily sellable storyline attached to it because of Pereira’s connection to Teixeira, so Hill is in if the UFC wants it.
He just doesn’t expect that to actually be the case, especially with an Adesanya rematch and potentially Robert Whittaker also currently waiting in the wings for Pereira.
“I don’t think [it’ll happen] just for the simple fact of, like, I think he would have to defend his title at middleweight first,” Hill said of Pereira.
“I think they want that — they want to keep that division moving. As far as talent, I think our division is great, we just have a bunch of unfortunate circumstances right now with guys being hurt and things like that, so it’s kind of creating a headache, and I don’t think they want to throw the middleweight division into that type of headache. So I think they probably want to keep that one rolling, so he probably defends his belt at least once or twice. He probably might do the Izzy fight again, and then probably like a Rob Whitaker.
“Because if he beats both of them, if he beats Izzy again, if he beats of them, now hell yeah. F*** dude, f*** yes. Yes. Hell yes. Yes. We do that.”
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