BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | One can expect to find alumni of The Cooper Union in the arts, design and engineering fields. But in the ring in an Ultimate Fighting competition, meting out and absorbing vicious punishment?
In the case of Angela Hill, 29, a graduate of the elite East Village school, the answer is yes.
And Hill’s now set to become a household name as a member of the first-ever all-female cast of “The Ultimate Fighter Season 20.” The series debuted on Wed., Sept. 10, on Fox Sports 1.
Set in Las Vegas, the show will introduce the newest women’s weight class. The winner will be crowned the first-ever U.F.C. strawweight champion (115 pounds).
Hill got into Muay Thai, a Thai martial art form, four years ago.
“I still consider myself an artist,” she said in an interview last week. “I was really into animation — motion graphics — after school, and I started working in a couple of studios. That’s when I got interested in Muay Thai; you sit around in an office for 12 hours, you get antsy.”
Hill is married, to another artist.
“We both draw and paint and sketch,” she said. “But I feel, in terms of making money, this is what I want to do,” she said of mixed martial arts fighting. “For fighters, the window / timeframe is brief. Art you can do till you die.”
Asked what her best move is, Hill said, “probably my roundhouse — my kick. I don’t do them often, but I have really strong kicks — very fast. Also, my overhead right [punch].
“I have a few knockouts. My best was an overhead right against this girl. She was just facedown on the mat.”
Originally from Maryland, Hill currently lives near Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, in Brooklyn. She trains four hours a day. You might have seen her sprinting across the Brooklyn or Williamsburg bridges.
“A lot of hard training,” she said.
Her ring name, “Overkill Hill,” gives a sense of her power. She doesn’t brag, but, then again, she doesn’t have to. Her record speaks for itself.
She’s had 14 amateur Muay Thai fights, two pro bouts and one mixed martial-arts fight. She’s undefeated.
“Confidence is what got me here,” she said. “Most of my fights, I had to fight girls with a lot more experience, a lot more wins than me. That didn’t stop me from beating them.
“I feel like I want it more. I have a lot of drive. Also, I’m very technical,” she said. “You see a lot of sloppy fighters, just kind of swinging from the hips — and they leave a lot of holes in their game. I blame it on the coaches.”
All of the fighters are very attractive. (Hey, after all, it’s Fox.) The series is touting the pugilists’ beauty as well as their strength.
As for Cooper Union, Hill said she’s familiar with the ongoing battle over the formerly full-tuition school’s decision to start charging incoming freshmen tuition this year.
“Yeah, it sucks,” she said of the new policy. “The only reason I was able to go to art school was because of Cooper Union, because of that scholarship. I applied to other schools, RISD, for a partial scholarship. But I still would have been $50,000 in debt. Cooper Union gave newcomers like me entrée into that world — people not from a lot of money or third-generation artists. I might still be in Maryland if not for Cooper Union. It just opened my eyes.
“It’s really sad. It’s really unfortunate,” she said of the decision to institute tuition.
“I wish there was something I could do,” she said. Then, as quick as one of her kicks, she added, “Maybe if I play my cards right, I can — maybe help one student.”