The alarm clock goes off in the morning and you set about your daily routine. “Just another day at the office” seems like a fitting mantra as you make your way to work. What is about to happen as you step foot inside the front doors, however, is a dream come true for any professional mixed martial artist who is grinding towards their big break.

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is at your workplace, and he wants to see what you’ve got to offer. Your heart is racing and you almost need to punch yourself to make sure that your alarm actually went off.

It may seem a little far-fetched. It may seem like a dream. But it was exactly what happened to Rob Hill when he showed up to work for his coaching gig at the UFC Gym on a seemingly normal day in September. The trials for The Ultimate Fighter: Nations were taking place, and it was something that made him confident that mixed martial arts is the career path for him.

“It was an interesting experience [laughs]. I was pretty happy with how things went there. I mean obviously I am not going to be on the show or anything, but there was a lot that I could take away from it. It was good to be able to show the man, Joe Silva, some of my skills first hand,” Hill admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It made me realize that I still want to compete and I want to take my skill set to the next level. I know I can do it, I just need to get back in there.”

Whilst undertaking a coaching role with Lange’s MMA in Sydney, Australia, Hill expanded his repertoire by accepting the role of MMA coach at the UFC Gym in Sydney. A gym bearing the name of the world’s biggest mixed martial arts company will no doubt have a higher potential of bringing an interesting clientele.

“You know, it’s like any gym,” he said. “You get people calling up and saying they want to train there and be in the UFC within a year, but most of the time they get on the mats and realize it will take a lot more then they think. I see the gym as being more of a martial arts school than a traditional fight team. If people train with us and want to fight, we can get them a fight. That’s not a problem. But I think that the focus on the educational aspect of martial arts is beneficial to the success of the facility.”

Besides his coaching roles with the UFC Gym and Lange’s MMA, Hill has another passion outside of the world of mixed martial arts. Surfing is something that he finds himself doing in his down time, so it was only natural he would become more involved in helping with the Manly Surf School.

“I’ve been surfing since I was young, and the owner of the surf school is actually a purple belt who trains with us at Lange’s. And one day, he just asked if I was interested in coming along to teach there,” Hill said. “It’s great being able to teach kids who come from disadvantaged areas how to surf. It’s awesome putting them through the program and seeing them develop. You know, some of these kids can’t swim and haven’t even seen the ocean before, and it’s something that we take for granted, and it makes you grateful for the little things in life.”

Being a veteran of 21 professional bouts that has seen him compete across the globe, Hill found himself on the back of four successive losses over the past 12 months. It would be easy for him to call it a day and focus primarily on coaching, but for Hill, the urge to compete is still there. In his eyes, he still has so much more that he can do in the sport.

“It’s funny. I hadn’t really thought about it until I had to put everything on paper,” he explained. “I was looking back at what I had done and I thought to myself, I have had some really good fight experience over the years and I have fought a lot of good people. Yeah, I might be coming off a few losses in a row, but I look at it like any successful sports team or top-level athlete. They all have their ups and downs, and there is always a chance to bounce back.

“I really want to get a match and get back in there. I’ve had to make some adjustments in my life with my new role at the gym, and I think that I have settled into it pretty well now. I would love to get back to competing by the end of the year and am ready for any challenge that is put in front of me.”

Whilst Hill may not have been able to live out the ideal scenario of making it into The Ultimate Fighter series, his impromptu tryout for the popular reality series did rejuvenate his willingness to compete professionally. Now, it will just be a matter of time until he takes the success that he has found in the world of coaching and replicate it in professional competition once again.

Rob would like to thank All Systems Fitness, Manly Surf School, Lange’s MMA, Bloodbath Fightwear, Beast Sports Nutrition and Boxing Fitness Supplies. Follow Hill on Twitter: @robhillmma

Photo: Rob Hill (L) (Legend FC)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.