The UFC light heavyweight title is vacant — again.
Jamahal Hill, who has been champion for six months, announced Thursday night on his YouTube page that he ruptured an Achilles tendon and will be relinquishing the belt. Hill said in the video that he will be out “awhile.”
“If I had my choice, would I like to give up the belt?” he said. “No, I wouldn’t. You got to be consistent. I understand, it’s the business. The show must go on. I’m not exempt from that.”
Hill beat 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 suffered a shoulder injury and had to relinquish it. In place of Prochazka vs. Teixeira at UFC 292 in December, the UFC booked a vacant title fight between former champion Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. That bout ended up going to a split draw, leaving the division without a champion until Hill beat Teixeira.
This is the third time in the past three years that a UFC light heavyweight champion has given up the title. Prior to Prochazka and Hill, longtime 205-pound king Jon Jones vacated the belt in August 2020 with designs on moving up to heavyweight. Jones is now the UFC heavyweight champion.
Hill said he appreciated that Prochazka gave up the title late last year, rather than keeping it and holding up the division.
“I’ll do the same,” Hill said. “Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on my recovery, focusing on getting back to 100 percent.”
Hill (12-1, 1 NC) has won four in a row, winning fight-night bonuses in each of those victories. The Chicago native has a 6-1 (1 NC) record in the UFC. Hill, 32, was the first Dana White’s Contender Series alum to become an undisputed UFC champion.
“Sweet Dreams” said he was promised by the UFC that he would get a shot at the title upon his return from injury.
“I already know I’m the real champion,” Hill said. “I’m the true champion. I can’t wait to prove it.”