Former Titan FC featherweight champion and newly-signed UFC prospect Desmond Green will make his UFC debut this weekend at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York. Here he talks about his close ties to the people of upstate New York, his challenging upbringing and what we can expect when he steps in the Octagon for the first time.
Tony Reid: You are making your UFC debut at UFC 210 in Buffalo this weekend. How did you get the news that it was official?
Desmond Green: My manager was talking to Dana and he said they were trying to get me on an upcoming card. A few days later my manager got a call that I was going to the on the card in Buffalo. I knew for a few weeks before I announced it. I was freaking stoked. I was so happy.
TR: How tough is it to sit on info like that for a while?
DG: I couldn’t even post it on my social media. I think for the whole month of February I didn’t even go on my social media accounts. It was so hard to keep it a secret.
TR: Josh Emmett is 11-0 and 2-0 in the UFC. That’s a super tough opponent to make your UFC debut against. How do you see the fight playing out this weekend?
DG: I think it’s going to be a tough fight. I definitely have my hands full. I am confident in my skill set and abilities versus his. I am bigger. I am a better wrestler. He has an overhand right that I need to watch out for but I just need to stay tight and I think I should be able to take the fight.
TR: We all hear about the “Octagon Jitters”. Are you taking that into account or is that just B.S. in your opinion?
DG: I fought in Bellator and I have about 24 fights at this point. I fought on Fight Pass already. This won’t be my first rodeo but it will be the biggest stage on my career. I am confident that I can handle it. I am more excited than anything. For the past four years this is all I wanted to do. You chase the dream so much that it is more of a release than anything. I am there. I am finally here. I might as well put it all on the line.
TR: The fight is in Buffalo. You are from upstate New York. You went to college in Buffalo. How do those factors play into the pressures of it also being your UFC debut?
DG: This will be the first time I fought in front of my hometown as a pro. There is hype around my name. Now I get to go home and perform in front of 200 of my friends and family. Not only did I go to college in Buffalo, my hometown is an hour away. I have so much love in upstate New York. It really is amazing. It’s a dream come true and I feel blessed.
TR: On social media your new foundation is blood, sweat and tears. Can you speak about some of the trials, tribulations and tests you have overcome growing up in Rochester? Now you are on the biggest stage in the sport ready to make a dream come true…
DG: Yeah, man. I am the first people of my generation in my family to go to college. I come from an area in Rochester that had the highest murder rate. There is nothing nice there. It’s a bad town and a bad sand it’s easy to get caught up in the street life. I tried to stay on the right path and do something good. My brother took the opposite path. He took a different lane. He did three years upstate in the penitentiary. That’s the kind of life I come from. We grew up better than that but it’s easy to get caught up in that street life. I wanted to be just like my brother. When he got in trouble back when I was in high school he made me promise that I would take care of my mom and my little sister. It saved my life.
TR: What have you sacrificed to chase this MMA dream?
DG: I left college early to pursue fighting. A lot of people thought it wasn’t a good idea. I gave up my scholarship my last year in college to start fighting. Four and a half years later here I am in the UFC. I lived in Canada for a year chasing this dream. I moved to two different states to train. I dealt with different promotions. It hasn’t been pretty but I’m finally here.
TR: You held down a few interesting jobs after college while biding your time to get a big break in the sport. What where some of those positions?
DG: When I got out of college I took jobs at Wal-Mart. I worked overnights at Wegman’s. I worked at Target. I even worked as a janitor a year ago for a little bit. I knew where I was going to go and I just needed little jobs in the meantime. My last job before I got signed by the UFC I was working for a Multiple Sclerosis foundation. I got the call while I was at my job. I had to quit. It’s been like that for the last four years. It’s frustrating, wondering if things will ever pan out. My resume is filled with a bunch of little jobs. You just have to keep the faith. I always believed in my craft and I knew it would pay off.