To say Maurice Greene was overwhelmed with emotion following his UFC on ESPN 12 win over Gian Villante would be an understatement. Greene knew his job was likely on the line Saturday night. He’d made the trek out to Albuquerque, New Mexico to train with Jackson-Wink MMA. Likely with that in mind.
Following a submission win over Villante, the damn broke. Greene could barely keep it together during his post-fight interview. And it’s understandable. A lot was on the line, with the heavyweight planning to uproot his family so he can train full time with Jackson-Wink.
Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press backstage, Greene admitted that a lot was riding on the fight. “I got it done tonight. My back was against the wall, I was on a two-fight skid. And I could have lost my job tonight. I could have lost my job,” the heavyweight said. In his mid-30s, as the bread winner, and about to move his family, Greene knows time is a factor. “You do the math on how much time I have. So you know it always feels good to be here.”
Addressing his post-fight speech, Greene explained that “I’m a very emotional person, you saw on Ultimate Fighter, [when] I won the first time. You know it’s like I try my best to put this face on and say ‘there’s no pressure,’ but that sh*t was thick, very thick.”
Getting dropped during the fight let him know he was in a tough spot. “I don’t really remember a lot of it,” he admitted, before adding “to be able to finish from the bottom with my jiu-jitsu is so sweet to me. There’s not a lot of heavyweights that do jiu-jitsu, and I’m one of them. And it’s just very sweet to me. I never went to college so I call whenever I get my Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, that’s my college degree.”
The win was extra special not just because of that, but because of a number of personal issues, including a somewhat unplanned gym switch.
“I had a bunch of personal things going on leading up to this. I had a gym switch. I actually didn’t mean to switch gyms really, I was going out there just to get work in,” Greene explained. “But when I got out there, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn kind of took me under their wing and penciled me in every day for time with each one of them. On top of all the heavyweights they got out there. Probably six plus, which is unheard of.”
“They’re building a stable of stallions out there, and I want to be part of that,” he added.
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 12 post-fight press conference with Maurice Greene above.