Michael Hill takes on Ryan Dickson at XFC 43. It’s happening Wednesday, November 11th in a welterweight bout as part of a tournament at 170 pounds. The latest XFC event emanates from Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcasts live on NBC Sports.
The former XFFC welterweight champion now looks to embark on a path towards becoming the XFC welterweight champion.
Below are several excerpts from my conversation with the former contestant from season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Michael Hill returning to his roots with the vaunted Toshido MMA
“We’re back in Kelowna with Toshido MMA. Under the guidance of David. The famous Toshido MMA where I grew up. Where I started, the bloodline runs deep in my blood. I’m happy to be back.”
“Yeah, there’s the old ancient tale of the Samurais… They always find their way back home. The warrior always finds his way back home. He’s got to go on the unbeaten path, the black sheep. He always finds his way back home to his master and they reconnect and better things happen. David Lea and Toshido MMA for the first seven years of my career has taught me more about life than I’ve ever known. It’s given me a blueprint on how to be the best possible human into training partner into martial artist into father, brother, son, uncle. Just life skills in general.”
The last fight for Michael Hill at CFFC 85 after a lengthy layoff
“It was just a pandemic, two-year layoff. You know, I had nobody really pushing me in my hometown telling me to do the hard things. Went into that fight conditioned and just pure heart and toughness. Just grabbed the opportunity by the balls, man. That’s all it was. It’s grabbing that opportunity and seeing what could happen. When I got out there and the lights were shining, you could really tell that I hadn’t sparred in two years…Bobby grinded it out, got the W, and it just made me a better fighter.”
I mean you’re definitely one of the top 170 pounders in the country and it seems like a great field of guys. LaRue Burley and an old opponent of yours Spencer Jebb. So a great tournament field overall, man.
“We got some tough Canadians. Both Ryan Dickson and Spencer Jebb in the tournament. There’s a list of Americans as well that should be tough fights. So I definitely see myself coming out on top. It should be a no brainer for me to get to the finals. Get that belt around my waist. I do believe that both Jebb and Dickson will be my toughest fights if I do face them. So I’ll get one of them out of the way the first time. If we meet again with me and Jebby, then that’ll be a good fight too.”
Hill vs Dickson II
Michael Hill having past opponents Spencer Jebb and Ryan Dickson in the tournament field
“They’re gonna be hungry to get that W. They took that loss from me already, both of them. So to come back and take that W from me, to get that one back, there’s going to be a little bit of hunger in their eyes. But Dickson’s already quit. He’s already retired. I think once you retire, you come back and don’t have much smoke in you. It’s hard for an athlete to retire and then not find that hobby or that spark that really gives them what fighting does.”
“So you know, he’s coming back and I hope he’s healthy. In shape and ready to fight. I’m sure he is. He comes from the great camp and I like Dickson a lot. We continue to communicate over the years and support each other. I hope he’s doing it for the right reasons and I do believe I will get a better Dickson. I just hope that he’s ready to step in a cage was with a bunch of killers because none of us have retired yet. Again like I said, once you retire I think you should stay retired.”
Ninja training with the young ones in his family
“My daughter and my two nephews and my little niece. They watch me train over the years and they’ve been through all the fight camps. I read a lot of ninja stories and they watch me watch UFC. Over the years, just really starting to get into it themselves. From crawling on the mats, walking on the mats, running, to doing ninja rolls, kicks and punches. Telling them about each journey, whether it’s to Thailand or to Russia. And now I let them watch the three ninjas, the old school three ninjas movie.”
“They just wanted their ninja costumes and ninja mask for the longest time. I told them that they had to go through some serious training and I kind of put it on like a health journey for them. So you know they gotta wake up and they got to learn to make their bed. They got to brush their teeth, they got to drink their water, and they got to eat their vegetables. Got to do morning conditioning and all that kind of journeying that I do as an athlete and as a martial artist.”
“They had seen me take a loss. Got to watch me for the first time fight. I couldn’t imagine. One of the little guy’s had a really hard time seeing Bobby (Lee) on top of me the whole time. Punching me away and you know at the end of the day, they seem get up and they see me never give up and they see me keep going. They see me face adversity, they only knew me as a champion and they only knew me as a winner. And now they know me as a loser. Not a champion and not get the belt. So that was a little tough on me but I knew that it was really good for them. ”
Parting thoughts for Michael Hill
“The people around me, man. I just love you guys so much. My angels watching me and allowing me to live this lifestyle. Just to be healthy and blessed. Each day, I’m thankful that I get to spend it with my family and my loved ones. I get to be entertaining for family and friends. The people that support me and XFC for this opportunity. David Lea for allowing me back at Toshido and coming with the team.”
“All my friends here in Kelowna that make it easy for me to come back up here and live the best life. All my family and friends back home in Powell River and Victoria. Just everyone who has helped me, man. You know who you are. I could be on this phone forever naming people and stuff like that. So if you’re in my life, you know that I love you so much. Thank you so much.”