fbpx
More Sports

Angela Hill Is Trying To Become The UFC’s First African-American Female Champion

Facing her third opponent this year, Hill is on a mission

Before she was a mixed martial artist, UFC strawweight Angela Hill was simply an artist. The PG County, Maryland native graduated from New York’s prestigious Cooper Union with dreams of becoming an animator.

She started training in Muay Thai while working at an animation studio, and her combat sports career evolved when the studio began laying employees off during the 2008 recession. Then it became a full-time lifestyle.

“Since I’ve started MMA, I’ve always felt that I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I started doing Muay Thai at 24,” said Hill. “I lot of people in MMA, they’ve been either doing Muay Thai or boxing or jiu-jitsu, usually jiu jitsu or some type of wrestling but they’ve been doing that since high school. I picked it up at 24 as a hobby and started realizing I was good at it and started beating people who had been training a lot longer than me and eventually it became a profession.

“When I got to MMA, I still had a huge gap in the grappling department so I try to stay in the gym to cinch that up and also work on my striking and work in MMA that are not always the same as the techniques that work in Muay Thai. I’ve always been ready to learn and ready to keep improving just to close the gap. At this point I feel like I’ve finally been able to do that, I’ve closed that gap. I have the experience up, I have the skills up.”

Hill has the noteworthy distinction of having already fought twice in 2020 and currently being on a three-fight win streak. With two of those fights resulting in finishes, Hill is becoming the fighter she always envisioned herself evolving too. She just needed to learn to trust her process.

“I know when I fought twice, I was the only person to fight twice back-to-back. I’ve got to keep it tight because (Donald) Cerrone is trying to catch up to me. I definitely love to stay active because I’m always training. I treat training as a 9-5. I make sure I go in every day of the week. If I have a light week I’ll take Saturday off

“When I got to MMA, I still had a huge gap in the grappling department so I try to stay in the gym to cinch that up and also work on my striking and work in MMA that are not always the same as the techniques that work in Muay Thai. I’ve always been ready to learn and ready to keep improving just to close the gap. At this point I feel like I’ve finally been able to do that, I’ve closed that gap. I have the experience up, I have the skills up.”

Facing MMA veteran, Claudia Gadelha, this will be Hills’s toughest challenge and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“She does have a lot of experience. I think she’s been in two title fights, ” Hill told The Shadow League. “You get a lot of experience from those five rounds and she’s one of the veterans so ring rust isn’t something I’ll be banking on. But I do feel super comfortable myself. When I made the walk back in February in New Zealand, I felt super comfortable. I didn’t feel the crazy butterflies that I usually do when I have 5 or 6 months off. Sometimes that can make you hesitate or be overly cautious.

“You don’t want to come back after a few months and then get a loss and no one remembers that win you had 6 months ago. Little dumb things like that can mess you up mentally in a fight. I definitely won’t have that hindering my performance. I’m excited to do what I can do. I know I can put hands on her, hit her hard and make her not want to get hit. I just feel that my power is a bit underrated and eventually, especially now that I’m more comfortable stopping people, they will see more of this as well.”

However, Hill s always ready for a fight, even when she isn’t.

“When they finally shut everything down in San Diego, I didn’t have my fight booked yet, I was pretty much in limbo and figured I wouldn’t be fighting until July or September, maybe even next year. When they shut everything down I went into party mode. I literally went to the grocery store and got a bunch a liquor and frozen pizza’s like we’re good (laughs). But then low and behold a month later I hear that Dana White is still trying to put fights on even though everything is shut down. Because all the borders are closed, Claudia Gaedelha’s original opponent couldn’t make the fight so they called me to fill in. Of course, I had to say yes (laughs).

“Luckily, I had two teammates that were getting ready for UFC 249, Jeremy Stephens and Dominick Cruz. They had a little secret training session going on so I was able to sneak into that and kickstart my fight camp. Usually, I have a little more fitness before I start fight camp but this time I was coming in after a straight month of sitting on my butt but that was a little harder but eventually I got back in shape and started seeing a couple abs poking out.”

https://twitter.com/jedigoodman/status/1261463608237543424?s=20

For Hill, being an athlete is all about challenging yourself. Knowing that she could one day make history as the UFC’s first African-American female champ is the ultimate challenge (pun intended).

“What’s kind of been my mantra is to try to go into each fight and try and just be in the moment and don’t worry about the outcome. I feel like that really works for me and the short notice has been helping because you go in there with a lot less weight than when you’ve been preparing for one person for 8 weeks and then finally its time to show everyone what you’ve been working on and wondering if it was enough.  Being able to change my mindset, it allowed me to take more risk, it allowed me to be freer in the cage and just looser.

“It allowed me to throw hard without worrying about what’s going to happen after I throw hard. It’s just allowed me to put on more exciting fights and get some knockouts in the UFC. Once you get to a bigger platform you can get that stage fright again and wonder too much about what happens if. Getting in the cage more often has helped me deal with that mental side of fighting and now I’m fully confident that eventually, I’m going to have that belt. I’m in a really good place right now and I’m just looking forward to this fight so I can prove it to everyone.”

With her fight load and focus it will be well-deserved.

Tags

Related Articles

Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker