@JamahalH has gone up another level tonight!
[ Main event next on ESPN2 & #ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/qYPvu5uuqh — UFC (@ufc) December 6, 2020
Jamahal Hill’s latest performance got the attention of the man many consider to be the sport’s pound-for-pound GOAT.
While former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones dismissed comparisons between himself and Hill, “Bones” praised the Dana White’s Contender Series alum following his second-round technical knockout of Ovince St. Preux in the UFC on ESPN 19 co-main event on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“His style is a lot more boxing based,” Jones wrote. “Looks amazing.”
Jones is familiar with the challenges that St. Preux presents. The Jackson-Wink MMA standout took a five-round verdict against “OSP” in an interim 205-pound title bout at UFC 197 in April 2016.
“Get out of here, OSP is a beast brother,” Jones wrote in response to a Twitter user who claimed that St. Preux might not be a significant victory for Hill. “Not very technical on his feet but he knows how to win.”
Hill was made aware of Jones’ comments at the UFC on ESPN 19 post-fight press conference, and he was proud to have caught the attention of a man who dominanted the division for years. Hill took the praise with a grain of salt, however, because he hinted that he expects to eventually look Jones in the eye in the Octagon.
That’s appreciated,” Hill said. “I respect Jon regardless of anything anybody says about Jon. He’s great. He came in this game and dominated. He lit the way for a lot of people.
“It was that change of the guard from the well-rounded, be able to do everything, as opposed to just tough guys. So I appreciate that, but it don’t change the fact that one day … one day.”
Hill gradually picked St. Preux apart in their encounter. The Black Lion Jiu-Jitsu representative attacked the body in Round 1 while absorbing some heavy leg kicks for his troubles. That set the stage for the finish in the second frame, when Hill backed his opponent into the fence and unleashed a barrage of hooks, uppercuts and crosses until referee Jason Herzog waved off the bout 3:37 into the period.
“I started to notice him starting to retreat a little bit and starting to back up,” Hill said. “A couple of the body shots, when they hit him, I could see there was a little bit more of a breath and a pause. Whenever I just started touching him, it was just keep touching him. I heard the ref say ‘you have to defend yourself’ and I just kept touching him, putting hands on him.”
Unbeaten in nine professional appearances — a win over Klidson Abreu was overturned to a no contest due to a positive marijuana test — Hill still has a ways to go before he can be mentioned in the same discussion as Jones. Nonetheless, a dominant victory over one of the division’s most reliable gatekeepers definitely sends a message.
“It sends a message that I’m for real, pay attention. This is not a game,” Hill said. “I’m not just here talking, I’m not a big mouth… I really do this. I’m really about everything that I’m saying. I truly believe everything I’m saying and my team is behind me 100 percent.”
It appears that Hill is already making the right people take notice.