UFC light heavyweight contender Jamahal Hill took no hits to his grappling confidence when he was beaten on the ground by Paul Craig.
Hill has surged towards the top of the 205-pound division in recent times, leaving a path of knocked-out rivals in his wake. That includes Jimmy Crute, former one-time title challenger Thiago Santos, whom he stopped last time out at UFC Vegas 59, and Johnny Walker, who fell to a brutal KO this past February.
But before his current main event form ascended him to #6 on the light heavyweight ladder, Hill suffered his one and only loss in professional MMA to Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Craig.
At UFC 263 last June, Hill’s willingness to trade with the Scotsman on the canvas resulted in a gruesome dislocated armbar, which was caused by an armbar.
Despite that outcome, though, Hill still boasts immense self-belief in his abilities on the ground.
Hill: ‘I Know The Mistakes I Made Against Craig’
During a recent appearance on Food Truck Diaries with Brendan Schaub, Hill discussed his penchant for standup battles, which has seen him record seven knockouts in his 11 professional wins.
But while he’s developed a reputation on the feet, “Sweet Dreams” believes he can hang with anyone on the ground, and that includes “Bearjew.” According to Hill, he’s more than capable of getting the better of Craig in the grappling realm.
“That’s what everybody should try to strive for, just be competent everywhere… be at a high level everywhere,” Hill said. “I grapple more than I strike… I got hands and the fight starts standing, so that’s where I want to be good at. But I’m not worried. I don’t look at myself behind anyone in that regard (grappling).
“I truly feel that my timing and my ability to know what to do and how to control is that good… People say whatever they want to say as far as the Paul Craig fight. But I know the mistake I made, and I know where to correct it,” Hill added. “Can I outgrapple Paul Craig? Yeah, I could. But things needed to be done on my terms.”
Should Craig have had his hand raised against Volkan Oezdemir last time out, perhaps a rematch with Hill would’ve been on the table.
But with the Scot falling to the Swiss veteran on the scorecards, he’ll need to rebound against Johnny Walker at UFC 283 if he’s to climb back towards contention, which is where Hill’s headline win over Santos has left him.
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