Jamahal ‘Sweet Dreams’ Hill has a ruptured Achilles tendon and needs surgery. He will relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title while he recovers.
Hill announced the unfortunate news late last night on his YouTube channel.
“I’ve ruptured my Achilles,” Hill said. “It’s just one of those things that happens. It’s one that will require surgery and time and rehab and things, so I’ll be out for a while.”
MMAFighting has reported that Hill sustained the injury while playing basketball in Las Vegas with other fighters this past weekend.
The 32-year-old Hill (12-1-0-1 MMA, 6-1-0-1 UFC) won the belt in January with a unanimous-decision win (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) over Glover Teixeira at UFC 283. The expectation was that Hill would make his first title defense later this year vs. Jiri Prochazka, who has also been recovering from an injury.
Prochazka (29-3-1-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) won the light heavyweight strap with a fifth-round submission win (rear-naked choke) over Teixeira in the 2022 Fight of the Year at UFC 275.
However, Prochazka was injured while training ahead of a booked rematch with Teixeira. On Nov. 23 of 2022, Prochazka announced that his shoulder injury would sideline him for an extended period of time and, like Hill is doing now, he gave up his belt so that the division could move forward.
Prochazka wished Hill well in his recovery in a friendly exchange on Twitter a few hours ago:
After expressing regret to Hill for his unfortunate situation in his tweet, Prochazka opined, “Who is next? winner [Jan] Blachowicz X [Alex] Pereira or ?”
Blachowicz, the former UFC 205-pound kingpin, is a -130 to -140 favorite vs. Pereira (+120) later this month in the UFC 291 co-main event in Salt Lake City. Pereira, the former UFC middleweight champion, is moving up in weight to make his light heavyweight debut.
Prochazka is currently the No. 1 contender in the division. Magomed Ankalaev is ranked second, followed by Blachowicz (No. 3) and Aleksandar Rakic (No. 4). Nikita Krylov and Johnny Walker are in a tie for the No. 5 ranking.