Young and undefeated Canadian fighter Josh Hill knows he is on the radar for bigger and better things very soon in his career, but he is not foolish enough to look past tough Sarnia, Ont., veteran John Fraser. On Saturday night, Hill (8-0) will face his toughest and only real remaining test in the regional circuit of Ontario when he faces Fraser (10-3) in the main event of SFS 5 at the Hamilton Palace Theatre.
“I know what I’m up against. My first three fights we were on the same card. He’s tough and experienced but I asked for it and I’m ready for it,” the bantamweight out of Stoney Creek, Ont. said in a phone interview earlier this week. “There really aren’t too many fights left for me in this area aside from bringing somebody up from the States. It had to be him.”
Hill, 25, has rolled through many of the opponents he has faced in his young career to date and is coming off a dominant decision win over Eric Wilson in March, his only fight in 2012. His game is based on elite athleticism, strength and conditioning, combined with strong wrestling skills. Despite the fact that only three of his wins have come via finish, his game is evolving as each day goes by and he believes he is on the cusp of the big show.
“I’ve talked to the UFC before and yeah they know who I am, so a win will put me right there hopefully, but I’m not looking past John by any means,” he said.
Hill’s hopes and dreams of fighting in the Octagon are as closer as they may seem as he has been to Brazil and trained briefly at Nova Uniao with the man he considers the best in the world at his weight class.
“I don’t think there is any question right now that Renan Barao is the best,” Hill said. “He pretty much dominated Faber and he has such a complete game. I was able to train with him, Jose Aldo, Eduardo Dantas, Marlon Sandro. That camp and Team Alpha Male are by far the best camps for smaller guys.”
Hill doesn’t understand why fans aren’t showing more love for the lighter divisions.
“I’m biased because I am one, but I feel they are the most exciting fights to watch,” he said.
Will his approach be any different in this fight than his last one against Wilson?
” Well, Eric just wasn’t able to do anything to me as I think I had a large advantage in strength. With John, I don’t know if that will be the case, we’ll see. His style is bit different. He brings relentless pressure and throws those wild punches.”
I have followed the 34-year-old Fraser for his entire MMA career and only just started noticing Hill. I believe that Fraser may be a bit too slick and savvy for the young gun. But no matter what happens on Saturday night in Hamilton, he has a very bright future ahead of him in this sport.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and regular contributor to sportsnet.ca. Follow him on Twitter: