“I was overthinking a lot about that matchup and I almost felt like I willed the fight to end that way,” Hill said. “I was obsessing over something that might happen so bad that it happened. And I think after that fight, I started trying to be more in the moment and not try to let any of my past experiences or what I think’s gonna happen in the future be in my head while I’m fighting and just getting into that flow state a little faster. And I started trusting in myself a little bit more.”
The Markos fight began her current run, one in which she’s 4-2, with the only losses coming against Markos and Yan Xiaonan. More importantly, the 35-year-old Maryland native is on a three-fight winning streak in which she’s defeated Ariane Carnelossi, Hannah Cifers and Loma Lookboonmee. And if Hill was a different fighter when her second stay in the UFC began, she’s even more different now.
“If I get the itch to throw a punch, I’ll throw it instead of hesitating or overthinking it and I’ve been feeling so much more comfortable now that I’ve focused on doing that,” she said. “It’s hard to get in there when you’re always thinking about what if this happens, what if that happens. That’s the beauty of being an undefeated fighter. You haven’t felt that fear of a loss yet. So yeah, for a fighter with a mixed record, it’s hard to push yourself past that, but I really felt like I figured that out last year and I chalk it up to being able to get in there so many times as well. It started taking the anxiety out of it.”
Along with being more comfortable in the Octagon, Hill has also been a lot more comfortable in stepping up to the plate to face all comers. Case in point, this bout with Gadelha. When this interview was conducted in mid-April, it was simply to catch up with “Overkill” during a time with no fights going on. By the beginning of May, she was signed up to fight the former world title challenger.
That’s Hill, who hasn’t let a 12-7 pro record slow her down.
“It’s super difficult, but I think it definitely hardens you,” she said of growing up (in an MMA sense) in public. “I see a lot of people who get an easier path into the sport, and when they hit that wall where you’re suddenly dealing with people who are as talented as you but have that experience over you, that’s always really hard to take if you didn’t have to deal with that adversity yet. I’ve seen it take a lot of people out of the game early just because of the timing when they finally got their first hard fight in their career and it can break you. So I think I definitely went through that whole process of being on the big stage, being seen at my best, but then also at my worst. It makes you make that decision early on, like how badly do I want this? A lot of people, when it’s easy up until they get to what they think is their goal, they don’t realize how much work it takes. So to be able to put yourself in that position and keep bouncing back, I think that proves I’m a lot stronger than any of my doubters thought I was in the beginning of my career.”
Doubt Angela Hill? As Donnie Brasco would say, “fuhgeddaboudit.”