Michael Hill

Photo by Joel Griffith of MMA Empire

CFFC 85’s Michael Hill: “Kill or be killed. No more Mr. Nice Guy”

Michael Hill takes on Bobby Lee at CFFC 85. It goes down tonight and follows up CFFC 84 from last night. The pugilistic proceedings will broadcast on UFC Fight Pass. The interim CFFC welterweight title is up for grabs during Hill vs Lee. Hill last competed in August 2018 and is chomping at the bit to get back inside the cage. The Ultimate Fighter 16 veteran captured regional gold in his last outing and he aims to do the same here with the ambition of adding the interim CFFC hardware to his mantle.

Below are some excerpts from my conversation with The Mercenary.

Michael Hill

Matt Dodge and signing with Dodge Sports

“Probably around when the pandemic started, maybe a month into the pandemic. I got asked to fight in UFC Vancouver. A broadcaster named Aaron Bronsteter put me in touch with the UFC and said ‘Hey, man, this world we might be the number one guy you want him.’ So manager reached out to me, we talked. I wasn’t ready to go then. I had a big, big injury that I just couldn’t get in the cage.”

“Anyways, so I reached back out to Aaron about a year later and just said, ‘Hey, man, like I need some help here. What’s going on with the pandemic? there’s not there’s not gonna be any flight to Canada for a long time. You know, I’m not 23 years old anymore. I don’t got much time to wait. I got to get this done. Now I gotta get light. Is there anyone that you put me in touch with anyone that can help me man?’ and Aaron was like ‘Yeah, there’s this great guy. His name’s Matt, from Dodge Sports is one of a kind. He’s a rare breed doing great things right now.'”

Overcoming the injuries that kept Michael Hill off UFC Vancouver

“I was ready to go and two days before I was going to step on a plane to go fight Curtis there (Chris Curtis). Know what it was. I was just helping out at a little kids’ class Jiu Jitsu class with my buddy and I went to go show a kimura. Just getting down to the ground and back up. My back, I just heard a pop pop pop three times and I couldn’t get off the ground man for about two hours. My buddies had to drive me home. You know, I had a bath and laid in bed in excruciating pain. Went to the hospital the next day and it just it went downhill from there, man.”

“The MRI showed four herniated discs in my back. They wanted surgery, they told me I would never fight again. My right leg went paralyzed. My left leg had that sciatic pain… I had drop foot so my left foot was dragging. Couldn’t move my foot up and down. I ended up becoming bedridden for about three months, man. And it’s quite the story itself from doctors and therapists and getting me here right now today, but quite the journey, dude, it had nothing to do with training.”

“It had nothing to do with fighting. I truly believe that that injury was fully on stress alone. As a man, just being stressed mentally, you know, having a heavy heart. A lot of weight on my shoulders from just kind of what I was going through in life and then you know, being 12 years, just fighting. Every day, man, I never took a break. 12 years, six or seven days a week, training two to three times a day. Fighting nd training with the best guys flying across the world.”


Fatherhood taking Michael Hill’s MMA game to an entirely new level

“When you have a kid and you want to be a father, that’s the best job in the world is being a father, man. When you’re trying to be a professional athlete, especially MMA is a little bit easier, but you can’t be an NHL, NBA MLB you just couldn’t do it. So if you’re a single father coming on where I come from, there’s no chance you’re going to be in your child’s life. And so for me, I didn’t know how to figure that route out.”

“And the universe sat me down and it gave me time. The first five years of your child’s life are the most important years. That child needs to feel you, hear you, see you, you know, play with it, you know, care for it all that everything. The universe gave me that time and it gave me the most important time. Me and my daughter, you know, we’re best friends. She knows when it’s time to go to war. She’s my biggest fan, man.”

Capturing the XFFC Welterweight Championship in his last outing over two years ago

“It meant everything man. I put another stamp on the legacy man. For me I just keep leveling me up, man. It just keeps getting me to that next level. Putting a belt around my waist and finally being able to call myself a champion, that was a dream come true. You know, that was one of the things I set out to do in this journey was becoming a champion.”

“I think that’s what I was battling a lot having a kid as well. Many fighters and fathers do and I don’t think they really talked about much but especially a little girl. I don’t know about having a little boy but once you have a kid and you step inside that cage, potentially it is life or death. A little caution to the wind. You don’t want to hurt someone else that you know that’s a father or hasn’t been married or anything like that as well.”

“But you know I just had to really had to dig deep and find out what I wanted…It taught me one thing man, kill or be killed. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I’m going in there and finishing. If I got someone hurt, I’m finishing. That ref’s go fuckin’ to pull me off.”

Hill vs Lee

Training at Island MMA and Michael Hill’s general preparations for this fight

“So I’m very fortunate to have back home now we have. We have two kids that have been coming up the last couple of years. Nicholas and Rafael, from Powell River BJJ. They’re both champions right now, amateur champions. Raf is the Rise FC champion. Younger brother and Nick is the BFL lightweight champion. I’ve been around the world traveling.”

“I mean, I started with the Toshido MMA. I come down to Vancouver to work with the best athletes man from every weight class. When I say, you know, I’ve trained with the best these guys, you know, these guys are the real deal. So they’ve been keeping me sharp in Powell River. And then I do have the opportunity to come down to Victoria. My coaches, Jason, Stan, for the last six years, and the teammates down here at West Coast BJJ.”

Michael Hill’s thoughts on Bobby Lee’s skillset heading into the CFFC 85 title fight

“Usually I’ll watch tape during the weight cut. Right so I don’t watch no tape. I get my coaches and I get all my buddies to watch all the tape. And same thing man, I pick a kickboxer to watch. Pick up a couple of jiu jitsu guys to watch. I just kind of see and then I play with that during fight week and the week before I travel. So no I haven’t watched any video on Bobby yet. When I first checked out his record I had seen right away there was a win loss, win loss, win loss.”

“Then I kind of looked down to see if he had fought anyone and the only guy I recognized was Demarques Jackson. I don’t know. I do know that he fought my teammate Matt Dwyer in a pretty big war. So you know, he lost to him I think. I’m not sure but anyways, that’s all I know, man. It doesn’t matter who it is, especially this fight right now. It could be the best welterweight in the world and I’m gonna accept that fight.”

“He’s got to put up with a fucking animal has been locked up for two years. Invisioning the next time he steps in a cage, and the door and the ref says go. Doesn’t matter who it is. Better than Bobby everywhere. He can take the fight wherever he wants and I’m just gonna showcase my skill set. And like I said, Man, I’m just gonna be a different animal in there, I feel.”

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