Home court advantage is real in MMA, and Des Green most certainly has it heading into UFC Rochester this weekend.
Rochester, NY — Des Green campaigned hard to get on the UFC Rochester card. No wonder. The Rochester native has never fought at home. Not in the UFC, not in his career period. After a quick knockout of Ross Pearson at UFC on ESPN 2 in Philadelphia at the end of March, Green (22-8) let the UFC know he wanted to fight in his home town.
Initially, he told reporters during the UFC Rochester media day this week, the promotion said no. But the call eventually came, with opponent Charles Jourdain attached. A newcomer, but Green didn’t care. He was just stoked to be fighting at home. That was his feeling at the open workouts. And he’s “probably getting even more excited now that we’re getting closer,” he said.
In the past, Green fought close to Rochester. Close, but no cigar. Still, he had great turnouts in terms of support. “Buffalo and Utica, I had like a crazy showing,” he recalled. Buffalo was UFC 210 in 2017, and he certainly had fans in his corner. “A lot of people, over 100 people coming in, from here, they’re supporting me.”
“So I already know fighting here alone, it’s going to be nuts,” he said. While Buffalo and Utica might have had 100 Green fans, ‘The Predator’ expects tenfold that in Rochester this weekend. “I was telling people, I’m going to have at least over 1,000 people, 100%. We got three booths, at least three booths.” Booths, he noted, hold 50 people or so each. His high school coach has one. His family has one. So does his “second family” from his college days.
Green’s phone is getting blown up with supporters. “It’s just going to be amazing out there. I can’t wait.”
The home field advantage could prove to be huge against Jourdain, who is both making his UFC debut, and fighting away from home (Jourdain hails from Quebec, Canada).
“This is a sport. It’s just like any other sport. It’s a little bit rougher and everything, but you got home court advantage in sports,” Green explained. He doesn’t see MMA as much different from football or basketball in that sense. “Everybody knows, when you’re in football and you play at your home stadium, you always perform better.”
“Basketball, when you’re at home, you do better than when you’re on the road. This is no different,” he continued. “Me fighting at home, this is real home court advantage. It doesn’t get no better than this. Literally, my house is less than fifteen minutes from the Blue Cross Arena.”
“That just lets you know how much of a home this is. I’m going to be taking full advantage of it,” said Green, “just soaking up all of the energy, and shooting it right back at Charles.”
UFC Rochester (UFC Fight Night 152) takes place Saturday, May 18 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. The event airs live on ESPN+ in the U.S., and Fight Pass/TSN in Canada.