Marc Raimondi, ESPN Staff Writer July 14, 2023, 2:30 a.m. ET
The UFC light heavyweight title is vacant – again.
Jamahal Hill, who has been champion for six months, announced late Thursday on his YouTube page that he has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be stripping the belt. Hill said in the video that he would be out “for a bit”.
“If I had a choice, would I want to drop the belt?” he says. “No, I don’t want to. You have to be consistent. I get it, it’s the business. The show has to go on. I’m not exempt from that.”
Hill defeated former champion Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 in January to win the then vacant title. Teixeira was supposed to challenge champion Jiri Prochazka for the belt in December, but Prochazka injured his shoulder and had to let him go. In the place of Prochazka vs Teixeira at UFC 292 in December, the UFC posted a vacant title fight between former champions Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. The fight ended in a draw, leaving the division championless until Hill defeated Teixeira.
This is the third time in the last three years that the UFC light heavyweight champion has relinquished the title. Before Prochazka and Hill, longtime 205 pound king Jon Jones vacated his belt in August 2020 with plans to move up to heavyweight. Jones is now the UFC heavyweight champion.
Hill said he appreciated Prochazka giving up the title late last year, rather than retaining it and keeping the division.
“I’d do the same,” Hill said. “Right now, the biggest thing is to focus on my recovery, focus on getting back to 100%.”
Hill (12-1, 1 NC) has won four straight, winning a bonus fight of the night in each of those wins. The Chicago native has a 6-1 (1 NC) record in the UFC. Hill, 32, is the first Challenger Series alum Dana White to become the undisputed UFC champion.
“Sweet Dreams” said he was promised by the UFC that he would try for a title after coming back from injury.
“I already knew that I was a real champion,” said Hill. “I’m a real champion. I can’t wait to prove it.”