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Invicta FC Strawweight Champions Angela Hill Returns To The UFC

Returning strawweight Angela Hill discusses time away from the UFC, Joanna Jerdrzejczyk, strawweight division and next fight

Returning strawweight Angela Hill discusses time away from the UFC, Joanna Jerdrzejczyk, strawweight division and next fight

Angela Hill had an early stint in the UFC following TUF. She got knocked out of TUF in the preliminary round by Carla Esparza, who later went on to be the first female UFC strawweight champion. She then beat Emily Kagan in the TUF 20 Finale but suffered back-to-back losses to Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas, by decision and submission respectively.

She was released by the UFC and signed with Invicta FC. Hill quickly blazed through the Invicta FC league and won the belt, and defended it all in 2016. On a current 4 fight winning streak, she is making her return to the UFC to face Jessica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 104.

In an interview on The MMA Hour, Hill notes that at the start of her UFC career she was relatively new to MMA and “the hardest part was having eyes on me before I was experienced enough to really deal with that type of pressure and that type of criticism.”

“Most people who are up there now, no one was looking at them when they were having their second pro fight, their third pro fight, and for me literally all of my fights except my first pro fight have been in the public eye”

Being so new to the game, coming into TUF and in the UFC, Hill faced the top tier of women’s strawweights while her fighting career was still brand new. “It’s been a huge test of will,” Hill continued “The first couple of losses were the first losses I had in my career, you know including Muay Thai, so it was definitely a huge test to have that happen on national TV and still just kinda persevere through that.”

The first losses provided a “Huge test of will and a huge test of how badly I wanted to follow this dream.” Initially, rumors had it that Hill would fight Andrade at UFC 207, but as a returning fighter, an issue with USADA and their four month testing period rule didn’t allow for Hill to return to face Andrade. An emotional Hill put out the message about this on her twitter.

Now, though, Hill has a date and an opponent that she’s ready to face and with no hard feelings towards the UFC. Hill was disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to fight Andrade because she felt just by fighting her and beating her, she would be making a huge statement all within 2016, but “when I found out I was still going to fight her, it kind of rectified that and I feel really good about that whole situation.”

Hill, now more experienced having been a defending champion, thinks Andrade is over-rated. She see’s gaps in her games from Andrade’s fights with Jessica Eye, Joanne Calderwood, also saying “I’ve never been a huge fan of JoJo either, I’ve just always thought she’s a bit overrated as well.”

“I thought that it was funny that, just after two wins, people are all on her nutsack”

Seemingly in good spirits now, Angela wanted the fight because people have been discussing Andrade in title contention and beating her would make a dominant statement in her return UFC fight and place her amongst the top tier women strawweights.

On Joanna Jerdrzejczyk, Hill says after she beats Andrade she’s gonna call her out. “I feel like, for me, Joanna’s an easier fight just because she’s not going to go for takedowns, or at least not at first. That’s not going to be her plan A.” Joanna is unbooked at the moment which could provide an opportunity for Hill. She follows this up by saying that everyone she’s fought so far, their plan A is to take her down so fighting Joanna will be a relief for her.

Credit: MMAJunkie

The path Hill has taken so far has been a tough one, from essentially starting her career on the biggest MMA platform, to getting cut after losing to two top contenders which, at the time, made her admittedly “pissed” and “bitter” but the path she has taken is one she wouldn’t change. Moving to Invicta allowed her to grow and get her feet wet without the same amount of eyes and pressure on her so early in her career.

In Invicta, Hill also added some personality to each of her weigh-ins in different costumes, she joked that she may have something in store but she needs to figure out what she won’t get fined for. Following this, she gets a little deep with the UFC. While in Invicta, her next opponent was rumored to be Alexa Grasso, who conveniently co-headlines the same card, UFC Fight Night 104, against Felice Herrig. When prompted about this by Ariel, Hill responds saying “it’s cute,” while laughing. Hill follows this up noting the difference within the strawweight division, saying that “there’s definitely 2 different weight classes in the strawweight division. There’s the people there to fight and look professional and people there to look cute. Alexa and Felice float between the two. The ones there to look cute get the top billing – I’m referring to Paige VanZant.” VanZant lost to the same people Hill has lost to, for the most part, but has still headlined cards and has never had doubts about her future, “I’m not upset about it, I just know how things work and it’s cool.”

A very compelling interview given by Angela Hill. Welcome back to the UFC and it’s good to have you back.

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