In the main event of UFC 282 this past weekend in Las Vegas, Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev collided with the vacant 205-pound gold on the line. The championship stakes came about after Jiří Procházka relinquished his place on the throne when a shoulder injury forced him off the card.
While a new undisputed champion appeared to be certain, a split draw mean that the title has remained vacant.
In an effort to ensure that’s not the case for much longer, the UFC went about forming another pairing, with efforts to book former champion Glover Teixeira against rising contender Jamahal Hill beginning before the UFC 282 challengers had even departed the Octagon.
At the post-fight press conference, Dana White announced the surprising news that Teixeira vs. Hill is “done” and set to headline UFC 283 in Brazil next month.
Cormier: The UFC Marketing Machine Would Need To Push Champ Jamahal Hill
Some were quick to praise the UFC for granting Teixeira a shot in front of his home fans and looking to quickly progress the division. Others, however, spoke of the perceived damage the quick decision to book two completely different contenders against each other for the belt does to the legitimacy and prestige of the championship.
Cormier, a former titleholder in the weight class, recently gave his two cents on the booking, speaking about the decline at light heavyweight in recent years during an interview with Ben Askren. While it was once regarded as the “glamor division,” Cormier believes it’s far from it given the title “hot potato” that’s gone on in recent years.
With that in mind, “DC” thinks the UFC will have to utilize all of its marketing power to push #7-ranked contender Hill, whom he described as a relatively unknown fighter for the more casual fans, should he secure the title come January 21.
“What happened to light heavyweight? … I believe all these guys are great fighters, but it does not have the cache that it once had. The light heavyweight division was long considered the glamor division of the UFC,” Cormier stated. “Not anymore though… There’s no stabilizing force. There was (Jon) Jones, then me, and now it’s like hot potato.
“Jamahal Hill wins the belt, it will be the first time a guy who hasn’t — I mean, he’s very rarely main-evented anything… I think in terms of the light heavyweight division, he becomes the champion, the UFC will have to do some work to build the star power behind this kid, because there just isn’t very much unless you’re a die-hard fan… (But) the UFC marketing machine works,” Cormier concluded.
Jamahal Hill has had a breakout year in 2022, graduating from prospect to contender with a pair of headline knockouts against Johnny Walker and Thiago Santos.
While he was expecting to have to get through Anthony Smith next year before looking to ascend to the top step of the light heavyweight ladder, Christmas has come a few weeks early for “Sweet Dreams.”
Do you think Jamahal Hill will become the UFC light heavyweight champion next month in Brazil?
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