Former UB wrestler Desmond Green wins UFC debut in front of electric hometown crowd
Before Desmond 'The Predator' Green threw a punch at UFC 210, the crowd already loved him.
When Green scored a takedown, the crowd burst into cheers. And when Green got his hand raised at the end of the fight, the crowd erupted. Saturday night’s thunderous crowd was ready to watch the hometown fighter get the biggest win of his career.
Green, a former UB wrestler, made his UFC debut at UFC 210 Saturday night at the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo.
“It was unbelievable,” Green said in the post fight media scrum. “I knew I was going to have a lot of supporters, but when I came out and they roared like that for me, I was like, ‘is all of this for me?’ I can’t even take this right now. Win, lose, or draw I had already won.”
Green took on undefeated prospect Josh Emmett, who had already gone 2-0 in the UFC. Despite the tough competition, Green was able to control the fight and looked outstanding throughout on his way to a split decision win (28-29, 29-28, 30-27).
“When they read the 30-27, before they even said who it was, I already started jumping,” Green said. “I didn’t think it should have been a split, but a win’s a win. I got that first UFC win out of my system.”
Before the event, Green didn’t think there would be too many in attendance for his fight since it was the third fight on a 12-fight card.
But people showed up for Green and started to pack the arena 30 minutes before his fight. By the time he was making his way to the octagon, the crowd was almost full.
That is exactly what UFC President Dana White looks for in fighters before they move up the card.
“This is my first UFC fight and I know it takes a while for the crowd to get in,” Green said. “So I was shocked when I looked around and I could see so many people. I was starstruck; I’m not even going to lie. If you were to ask me, ‘do you think you would get so much love and support?’ I knew I was going to get it but not this much.”
But Green didn’t let the buzz in the arena get under his skin. Instead, he used it as fuel.
“It wasn’t jitters, it was motivation. I am a big Dragonball Z fan so I felt like I had the spirit bomb, getting the energy from everybody,” Green said. “Then, when they booed my opponent, I was like you guys are too much. I love it, just give me more. I felt like I was stepping in there with every supporter behind me.”
Green is a Rochester native and the weekend was made more special for him because his family attended multiple events.
“Just the perfect debut. Basically in my hometown, I live an hour away from here, I went to college in Buffalo. It was unbelievable, I wish I could live it again right now,” Green said.
Green impressed many analysts with his performance. UFC commentator Joe Rogan gave him significant praise on air.
But Green knows in MMA, it is better to look ahead than look back. That is why Green was already thinking about his next opponent and future plans moments after he defeated Emmett.
“Someone who is ranked higher than Emmett was, somebody better then him so I can slowly climb these ranks and state my claim for the title,” Green said.
Green has no fight scheduled yet, but he did make it clear that when the UFC returns to Buffalo, he wants to be there.
“Come on Dana [White], you heard them roaring for me, you gotta put me on that card,” Green said.
Thomas Zafonte is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org