Paul Craig and Jamahal Hill open up on pre-fight shock ahead of UFC 263


PHOENIX – If you like a little bad blood to fuel the fire in a professional cage fight, then Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill might just be the fight for you.

The two light heavyweights are throwing Saturday’s main to UFC 263 card, and they don’t seem very much in love with each other – Hill openly admitting he’s taking it personally.

“I’m taking this a little personal just because of some of the things that have been said,” Hill told MMA Junkie on a media day Wednesday. “I mean, some of the stories Paulicia decided to paint, yeah, I didn’t like that.”

The animosity started when Hill (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was forced to withdraw from a scheduled meeting in March with Craig (14-4-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC), moment to which the Scots decided to Twitter to announce that his opponent has “withdrawn” from the fight. Hill didn’t like the idea of ​​voluntarily withdrawing from the contest.

“I didn’t appreciate the ‘he pulled out’ comment,” Hill said. “I didn’t appreciate him calling me b * tch and asking me to show him a COVID test and, ‘if you cough up blood, show it.’ I didn’t like that shit, you know what I mean, so he feels it.

Hill isn’t shy about making his animosity known, and he even faced Craig at the host hotel when the two crossed paths on Wednesday.

“I was outside signing posters, and he came up to me and asked if I was on drugs,” Craig said. “You can watch the videos. Someone grabbed it, one of the trainers grabbed it and posted it on all social media, so it’s just this weird interaction where I’m kinda surprised at how wasted his time. Do you come to see me where we all make media? Drive orderly, please.

For his part, Hill said the confrontation was a necessary interaction.

“If you fucking call me, I mean you talk like I’m scared of you, I’m gonna let you look me in the eye and you’re gonna really see what it is,” Hill said. . ” I’m not playing. I mean, where I’m from, we don’t play like that, you know?

Craig is well aware of his opponent’s anger but thinks this is all misplaced. In fact, he believes it will negatively impact the performance of the undefeated light heavyweights in their clash on Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

“It’s all about the fight, isn’t it?” Craig asked. “Everyone you face is angry, they are emotional in the fight. But if you spend six months being angry and emotional, then that is wasted energy. Just focus on yourself and prepare for the fight – and he’s very emotional. “

As you can imagine, Hill sees it a bit differently.

“It’s none of that,” Hill said. “It’s just me letting you know – letting you know the type of person you’re dealing with, the type of fighter you’re about to be locked up there.” I mean, I felt like it was just to let her know, you know? I mean, I had to ask her when I was like, “Who’s your guy?” because some of the bullshit he said, I’m like, “No matter what you smoke, I need it, bro.”

“Me, taking it personally just means I’m going to be sharper, make sure I’m sharp, you know?” I mean, this is what I expect from myself. Emotion takes nothing from what I do. Really apart from the fact that I don’t like it, it’s no different from any other fight. That’s all. I just don’t like it.

Who will have the right to brag after Saturday? This remains to be seen as the rivalry continues to build. Oddsmakers installed Craig as a big enough favorite to keep his perfect career record unblemished, but Craig is known to claim an upheaval or two.

He thinks he’ll catch another at UFC 263.

“I see it as a second round submission,” Craig said. “I see him come out very, very happy with the guns at first, trying to finish the fight earlier. We’ve seen this happen to me before where I’ve just been through that storm and I’m like the Hulk – you know, when he gets up and he gets stronger – in the third round, and that’s when I normally do my best job. But I sincerely believe it will be a second round submission. “

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