Canadian bantamweight prospect Josh Hill, in 2011, took the right steps forward to reach the threshold of big career opportunities.
Three wins in three fights, including claiming his first Canadian MMA title and winning his first ever hometown match in Hamilton, Ontario, made for a year that Hill couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Accomplishing what Hill set out to do didn’t come without some difficulty, though, “Besides my last fight, I did very well.
“I thought my first two I fought really well, but going into my last fight, I was sick with the flu. Even though the first round went how I wanted it to, after that I really had nothing left. I had no gas in the tank, no strength or anything like that, so I just kind of grinded out the last two rounds to get the win. I’m not happy with it, so I hope to be a lot more explosive in this fight.”
Still early in his career, Hill knows that everything is part of the growing process, good or bad.
“I haven’t been in this game that long, only two years of fighting even, and I’m just learning,” he said. “Like in my training camp, (I’ve learned) when I should tone it down or pick it up. Also with dieting, that’s huge because I knew nothing about dieting before. I’m dieting properly before the weigh-in and doing a proper weight cut and stuff like that.
“It’s a lot of little things that I’ve accumulated to help my game out overall.”
Hill will look to put what he’s learned to good use on Friday as part of Score Fighting Series 4 in Edmonton, Ontario, against fellow up-and-comer Eric Wilson.
“I’ve seen him fight a couple times and he’s definitely no slouch,” said Hill of Wilson. “He’s only lost once, to John Fraser, who is another top Canadian bantamweight, so there’s no shame there. It’s going to be a tough one, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Hill told MMAWeekly.com that while Wilson prefers a particular part of the fight game, he should be able to control the rest. Even with his advantages, though, Hill is not taking Wilson lightly.
“Right when he hits the mat, he’s always looking for ankle locks, heel hooks, and knee bars; that’s his game. He loves doing that stuff,” said Hill. “I think I’ll be more athletic, and probably the bigger, stronger guy in this fight.
“I’ve got to be smart with it. I don’t want to rush into anything stupid and get caught and end up paying the price for it. I want to impose my will. I want him to feel my power, speed and strength right away. If he can withstand that and go later, then that’s good for me too because I know I can go all three rounds.”
Hill knows there are expectations that the winner of this fight could take the next step in their career, moving into one of the top promotions in the world, like the UFC or Strikeforce. It’s a move he’ll welcome when it comes, but not before then.
“I feel I can compete with anybody in the world at 135 pounds, I just have to go out there and actually do it,” he said. “I definitely think I’m close; whether it’s one fight, two fights, three fights away or whatever.
“There’s been a lot of talk about it, but I don’t want to get side tracked thinking about it – that’s when you pay the price. I’m just thinking about Wilson, and then we’ll start talking about other stuff after the fight.”
(Score Fighting Series 4 streams live on MMAWeekly.com on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT)