For the second time in the last year, the UFC light heavyweight title is now vacant after current champion Jamahal Hill announced Thursday night he has also been forced to relinquish the belt.
Jamahal Hill won the 205-pound title in January at UFC 283 after the previous champion, Jiri Prochazka, gave up the title due to an injury. The 32-year-old announced on his YouTube channel late Thursday that the same fate has befallen him and he is expected to be sidelined for months with a ruptured Achilles.
“I’ve ruptured my Achilles. It’s just one of those things that happens. It’s a tough injury. It’s one that will require surgery and will require time and rehab and things for me to be out for a while. Also with that, I was given an opportunity. I was given a blessing that came at the misfortune of someone else. Jiri Prochazka was the champion, he suffered an injury as these things happen. He gave up the belt and allowed for others to not hold the division.
“To keep the division moving forward. To keep entertaining. To make sure the people had a champion. I’ll do the same. Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on my recovery, focusing on getting back to 100 percent.”– Jamahal Hill
MMA Fighting reported after the announcement that the injury is believed to have happened during a pickup basketball game between several fighters during UFC 290 weekend festivities.
Jamahal Hill injury continues tumultuous period in UFC light heavyweight division
The top of the light heavyweight division in the UFC has seen a lot of upheaval in the last couple of years. Forever young star Glover Teixeira began the tumultuous period with his surprise win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 in Oct. 2021. He then lost the belt in his first defense eight months later to rising star Prochazka.
The former Rizin titlist was then forced to give up his new championship at the end of 2022 due to a major shoulder injury. That opened the door for Blachowicz to regain the title when he faced Magomed Ankalaev in the headliner of UFC 282 in December. Unfortunately, their bout ended in a draw.
In an attempt to quickly find a new champion, the UFC made Jamahal Hill’s January matchup with former weight-class king Teixeira a championship bout. After his victory earlier this year, the hope was for a matchup with the returning Prochazka, now the promotion must figure out a new plan for the belt that has been vacated for a second time in less than a year.