Maurice Greene avenged a loss, moved to 2-0 in the UFC, and finally felt like a proper member of the roster at UFC Wichita on Saturday.
Wichita, Kansas — Ultimate Fighter 28 alumni Maurice Greene entered into his second UFC fight on Saturday night. And despite the fight being his first not under the TUF banner, he was still in familiar territory. UFC Wichita opponent Jeff Hughes was an old rival, one who had defeated Greene on the regional circuit. With a title on the line, no less.
That loss was Greene’s last prior to Saturday night in Wichita. There, in the UFC’s debut in the Kansas city, Maurice Greene got his revenge. In a bout that felt more like his first “true” UFC Fight. “Oh my gosh, f*ck yes. For The Ultimate Fighter Finale, it felt like a job interview,” Greene told media outlets including Cageside Press on Saturday. “It was just one of those where I knew I had to go out and get a W to get a job.”
For Greene, the feeling was completely different, being a full member of the roster. “When you’re put on a regular card, you get to walk down that tunnel,” he said. “I was bumpin’ — my cornerman, T-Billa, he’s my best friend, he makes all the music I walk out to — No Friends. That sh*t just gets me going. The cutman who was greasing me up said, ‘Stop moving!’ because I was bumpin’. And I was like, ‘Damn man, you’re f*cking up my flow. I’m about to go fight.'”
“Man, it feels great. To come in on short notice against a tough guy,” Greene said of the pairing with Hughes. “I knew what I was getting myself into when I took the fight. I was out of shape, 10 pounds overweight. I had to cut the weight, make sure I had enough cardio and fight smart to conserve my cardio to get the W. You can only be happy with that, and I’m 100-percent happy.”
On taking a rematch early in career, well, Greene saw no reason not to. “Why wouldn’t it [make sense]? I lost. I lost a title on the regional circuit to this guy. We pushed it five rounds, but I was in tip-top shape, I just didn’t play the game plan.” UFC Wichita was a different story. “Tonight was a simple game plan. Stay long, stay behind your jab, rest behind your jab. We got into some tusslin’ situations and I think I won those with my elbows and control.”
“That’s a credit,” he added, “to Kelvin Gastelum and Coach T, all of our reviewing of The Ultimate Fighter that we did was a lot of stuff I did tonight. I don’t think it should’ve been a split decision personally, but at the end of the day, it’s a win. I’m on to the next one right now.”
Despite getting the win, Greene wasn’t certain until he had his hand raised. “I had a feeling that I was going to get robbed. But I think I did enough and I think I controlled the Octagon. When my back was against the cage, I was able to circle and he let me right back into the middle. I wish I would have thrown more jabs. I wish I would have mixed it up a little more and push forward for the finish like I always want to do.” But that having been said, Greene pointed out that “it’s more important to get the W and make sure I can breathe. I did gas a little bit, but you’ve got heavyweights who stand up for three rounds. We were throwing big shots. Third round he hit me with a head kick that kind of dazed me a little bit. What can I say? Minneapolis in June.”
That Minneapolis card is what he’s targeting next. “How are you going to come to Minneapolis and not have yours truly, The Crochet Boss, on the card. That just don’t make sense. It’s like having peanut butter without jelly. That just don’t make sense,” quipped Greene. “The Crochet Boss and Minneapolis, that makes sense. That’s just how I feel. I’ve got a lot of fans out there. Why not fill that arena and have them chanting, ‘The Crochet Boss’? Get them pumped up. I love this s***. I really do.”
An opponent? Doesn’t matter. “Whoever they call with,” said Greene. “I’ll talk to my coaches, I’ll talk to my manager, and we’ll see where it goes. Right now, I’m trying to get my foot in the door and build my miles.”
Now, it’s on to the celebration. “Celebrating this victory? Man, they stopped me from drinking beers, my coaches,” Greene bemoaned backstage. “And USADA, they stopped me too because I can’t have a beer. I usually have one the night before the fight. So I’m about to go and have six beers. I don’t know. I’m going to finish this Mountain Dew, go relax, have some beers. I’ve got some friends in from out of town. Just go have a good night, get in bed, fly home to my family tomorrow. I’m a little beat up. I’m ready to have some fun.”