UFC Vegas 20’s Angela Hill: Fighters Taking “Huge Risk” Competing During Pandemic

Having gotten past her own bout with COVID-19, Angela Hill knows that fighters are taking huge risks being in fight camp during the pandemic — but also feels her fellow athletes understand those risks.

From an outside perspective, it seems like forever since Angela Hill last fought.

Of course, as she heads into UFC Vegas 20 this weekend, in a rematch with Ashley Yoder, the reality is that it has only been five months. But compared to the pace “Overkill” usually competes at, that’s almost a standstill.

“It has [felt like a while], but I don’t really feel like I was off, because I was in fight camp after my fight in September.” Hill (12-9) had been preparing for a bout in December, against Tecia Torres. For which she put in a full eight week fight camp. “Which is usually pretty rough for me, because I hate thinking about someone for that long,” added Hill, speaking at the UFC Vegas 20 virtual media day this week. “But I did a full eight week fight camp. When I got COVID, I did take some time off the recover from that, and not get anyone else sick. But after that, I got right back on the ball, got back to the gym, and I have been able to learn some new tricks.”

Her COVID-19 diagnosis, of course, scrapped the Torres fight. Sam Hughes took her place. But Hill is hoping she can implement some of those new tricks in the fight against Yoder on Saturday. In particular, Hill has been focusing on her grappling, and being more offensive in that area. “Usually I just focus on defense [in grappling] when I’m in fight camp. But for [the Torres] fight camp, I was thinking all offense. Now that I’ve had time to let that marinate, I’m really looking forward to using it in the fight.”

Just don’t expect her to try to force anything.

Had Hill been able to make it to the Torres fight in December, she would have tied Kevin Holland with five fights in the calendar year for 2020. Hill admitted that missing that did bother her a little. Especially given that, as she put it, “the fight camp’s the worst part of fighting. The fact that I did all the work, and I wasn’t able to show up, it really sucked. I’m looking at the positives of that. I’m happy that I was able to recover so fast, I’m happy that I didn’t get too sick. I was one of the lucky ones.”

Expanding on that subject, Hill recognized that “everyone who’s in fight camp right now, they’ve taken a huge risk with their health. They’re in there during the pandemic, just grappling with people, sparring with people.” Some, of course, have had it better than others — look no further than the highly publicized cases of Khamzat Chimaev and Cody Garbrandt. “I think everyone understands the risks that they’re taking, but I do feel lucky that I haven’t had residual effects like a lot of the fighters have been reporting. I’m just ready to go,” added Hill.

Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 (UFC Fight Night 186) virtual media day scrum with Angela Hill above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.