The vacant light heavyweight belt was recently won by Jamahal Hill over the recently retired Glover Teixeira. Even though his reign as champion has only lasted two weeks, Hill is already planning his first title defence, calling for a matchup with Magomed Ankalaev.
The light heavyweight champion admitted to James Lynch of Lynch On Sports that Ankalaev deserves to face him for the championship, saying:
“Being at the top, he has established himself as a candidate for such positions. He is at the top, so I won’t just sit here and say, “He didn’t deserve it.” I fight anybody is available if I’m willing to go and fight. Just for the fact that people keep bringing up his name when we are speaking, I wouldn’t mind beating the f**k out of him.”
Ankalaev competed for the vacant light heavyweight title against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 before Hill won the championship. Despite the majority of spectators and even his opponent hailing the No. 2-ranked light heavyweight as the rightful victor, the fight ended in a draw. For his initial title defence, Hill kept his options open.
Jamahal Hill previously shared that he believes the UFC may overlook Magomed Ankalaev for his first title defense
Following the contest, Magomed Ankalaev expressed his discontent with the result at UFC 282, saying through a translator:
“That fight, I won. How come I didn’t get my belt? I’m at a loss for words. I always make the necessary adjustments. I’ll switch to wrestling and grappling if I’m losing in standup. I’ll get up if I’m losing the match. I am capable of doing both, but I’m not sure if I will fight for this group once more since, to be really honest, I have no idea what just transpired.”
Hill said the following about potential opponents after winning at UFC 283:
“They don’t appear to be experiencing Magomed that way, in my opinion. You know, simply for the sheer fact that he said, “I’ll never compete for the UFC,” after it was decided that it was a draw. That won’t get you a title shot, man, you know that. He might be subjected to additional testing.”
Later, Ankalaev apologised for his remarks and said there had been a translation error. He stated that the refereeing in Las Vegas makes him unwilling to fight.