It has not been an easy beginning to Desmond Green’s journey into the UFC.
“The Predator” made his debut for the promotion last year against the then-undefeated Josh Emmett and won a close split decision. His road did not get any easier from there. He came up on the short end of decisions in his next two fights against Rustam Khabilov and Michel Prazeres. It was Green’s bout with Prazeres in Brazil that was a particularly big challenge, even before the opening bell.
“It was a crazy time,” Green told Combat Press. “We got there the day of the weigh-ins, and we knew he missed weight before. I got a call from the UFC that he was six pounds over, and it seemed like he didn’t even try. But I’m a fighter [and] I want to fight. We asked for stipulations that he just not be over 172 [pounds] on fight night. I thought he would be around 170-173, but on the morning of the fight he was still trying to cut weight. He weighed 180 pounds, but I didn’t come all the way to Brazil for nothing.”
Green lost a unanimous verdict to Prazeres that night. Yet, he has no regrets about taking the fight despite Prazeres’ failure to make weight.
“I thought the UFC will like me better for it,” Green said. “I outstruck him, and I had better takedown defense. I would definitely do it again.”
The issue of weight-cutting continues to be at the forefront in mixed martial arts, most notably at UFC 224 last weekend when Mackenzie Dern came in more than seven pounds over the limit for her strawweight bout against Amanda Bobby Cooper. Green has his own solution to help address this issue.
“I would have everyone weigh in one hour before their fight,” Green said. “That’s when everyone is at their healthiest. I was at 163 pounds when I fought Prazeres. I think you should have to be within 10 pounds of your weight during fight week.”
Green will look to get back on the winning track on Friday, June 1, when he competes at UFC Fight Night 131 in Utica, N.Y. After facing fighters the caliber of Emmett, Khabilov and Prazeres, Green’s UFC campaign doesn’t get any easier when he enters the Octagon against Gleison Tibau, a longtime UFC vet who has 45 career fights.
“I know they say that you should be careful what you ask for, but this is what I want,” Green said. “I looked up his record, and Tibau has fought everyone in the top five [at lightweight]. Each of my fights has been against the top guys, and it brings out the best in me.”
Despite his current two-fight skid, Green still describes his overall UFC experience as “surreal.” After training and competing all over the world and making his UFC debut against Emmett in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., the well-traveled Green is excited to return to his old stomping grounds for his bout against Tibau.
“People are starting to notice me there, so I guess I’m starting to become a little famous,” Green said. “I’m having a lot of people I know come to this fight, so the pressure is definitely on. But it helps me.”