Jamahal Hill reacts to backlash over UFC 300 main event against Alex Pereira

Jamahal Hill has played down the ‘outrage and disappointment’ around his UFC 300 main event against Alex Pereira, suggesting that no fight could have lived up to fans’ expectations.

In January, UFC president Dana White promised that fans would not be able to “handle” the main event of the historic card, although the headline bout was not in fact booked at the time, according to Hill. Furthermore, many fans reacted with disappointment on Saturday (17 February), when Pereira vs Hill was announced as the UFC 300 main event.

Brazil’s Pereira will defend the UFC light-heavyweight title against Hill on 13 April, as the American returns from the injury that forced him to relinquish the belt in July.

Now Hill has reacted to the backlash around the fight, saying on his YouTube channel on Tuesday (20 February): “The reaction to this has been kind of a mix of things here and there, and whatnot. There’s been a lot of outrage, a lot of disappointment and things like that.

“To be honest, it’s crazy to me, because for the most part a lot of these people are the same people that have spent the better part of a year or however long calling me ‘crybaby’, but it’s crazy to see how a card can be stacked... The main card literally has a former champion or champion in every single fight [...] Each one of the prelims is worthy of being its own separate main event, and people are crying.

“It’s really, really crying because you had unreal expectations for something. Granted, I feel Dana did overstep with some of the comments that he made, but he had every intention of delivering on those comments. As you know, anybody who’s followed the UFC for some time, whenever Dana tries to tell you he’s trying to deliver something, he wouldn’t talk like that if he wasn’t trying to deliver something that you people would feel is mindblowing or otherworldly.

“Instead, you got one of the most technical, guaranteed banger of a fights that you could ask for at this time, with serious implications in historically one of the best weight divisions in the UFC. And people are complaining. I think I saw one comment that said, ‘I was expecting Conor [McGregor] vs Jesus himself.’ At this point, now I’m convinced that wouldn’t have been enough.

Hill after his stoppage win over Johnny Walker in 2022 (Zuffa LLC)
Hill after his stoppage win over Johnny Walker in 2022 (Zuffa LLC)

“Y’all could have got Mario vs King Kong, y’all could have got Wolverine vs Iron Man, you could have gotten anything – Hulk vs Superman, Spider-Man vs Batman, you could have got any of this – and you wouldn’t have been happy.”

Hill, 32, last fought in January 2023, outpointing Glover Teixeira in the latter’s native Brazil to win the vacant light-heavyweight title. In July, Hill relinquished the belt after sustaining an Achilles injury, before Pereira beat ex-champion Jiri Prochazka to claim the gold. Pereira’s TKO win in November saw the 36-year-old become a two-weight champion, after he previously the UFC middleweight title .

“Another one of the big questions has been my health,” Hill said on Wednesday. “‘He’s rushing back,’ and things like that. No, I’m not rushing back; I’ve been training, I’ve been sparring, I’ve been at a full go now for a few weeks. There’s been no setbacks, nothing hindering anything.

“So, there’s no concerns. My Achilles is not an issue, it’s not a problem at all. I’m just ready to go.

Pereira stopped Jiri Prochazka to win the UFC light-heavyweight belt in November (Getty Images)
Pereira stopped Jiri Prochazka to win the UFC light-heavyweight belt in November (Getty Images)

“Whenever you pay for a fight, do you not want somebody who’s coming to take somebody’s head off? To knock somebody out? [Someone] that has very, very, very high-level skills and the capability of doing so. You’ve got that on both ends in this fight. I put it on the line every time. Every single fight – go and watch any fight – I’m coming forward, I’m putting it all on the line, I’m taking risks, and I’m giving everything for the show.

“For the disrespect to flood in the way that it is, about a fight that a lot of people have asked for... I’m going to keep it a thousand: I was there, I did the fan experience in Anaheim [before UFC 298 last week]. [Me vs Pereira was] all people were asking [for], that’s all people wanted – a lot of fans, a lot of true, true fans, that’s what they wanted. They wanted this for UFC 300.”