When Bobby Green and Lando Vannata meet this weekend at UFC Vegas 5, it won’t be for the first time.
The lightweight pair first faced off at UFC 216 in 2017, the end result being a split draw. That, apparently, hasn’t sat well with Green. “I’ve never had a draw in my life. There’s a winner and a loser. We got to go figure it out,” he said at this week’s media day, ahead of the rematch.
Green will be the first to admit he wasn’t himself during that first fight. For one, at the time, he didn’t know who Vannata was. Worse, “to be honest, I was out of shape. Didn’t come the best me. Now he’s going to see who I really am.”
Of course, he’s still taking this fight with just a few week’s notice. But this time, Green is well aware of who he’s facing.
“I felt like he did some really good things in the first flight. He dropped me. My problem is that I let him get off with a good shot in the wrong places too early. His pop was still too good at the beginning of the fight,” Green admitted. But in the end, he still felt he’d done enough to win. “Really at the end of the day, I felt like it was just the judges.”
To make his case, Green pointed to the damage he left on Vannata’s face last time. That’s why he’s surprised Lando even accepted the rematch, he added. “I don’t know why the guy signed to fight again, to be honest. I wouldn’t want to look like that again. If you want to do that again to yourself, sure, go ahead.”
Green suggested that perhaps Vannata expects him to come in “half-assed,” perhaps underestimating him from their first fight. But this time out, he’s coming for the finish. It won’t be a repeat of that first fight, in other words.
That’s thanks to some mental adjustments. Around the time of the first Vannata fight, things weren’t going so well for Green. Then came an encounter with a future Hall of Famer.
“I guess I got a little depressed at the time. Daniel Cormier talked to me, he was like a like, ‘I see the difference in your fights, what happened? Like what’s going on with you?'” recalled Green. “I just felt like the public wasn’t watching. Nobody cared. And when the champ tells you, ‘I’m watching your fights’ and he could see that you’ve fallen off? I said, ‘Whoa, somebody’s paying attention.'”
That was the spark Green needed. “So I just got really motivated, I had to get re-motivated and let them know that I’m still putting on good shows.”
Now, it’s back to focusing on his craft, what he calls “poetry in motion.”
“It may not be guys going to sleep all the time, but it’s beautiful art,” he added.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 5 media day press scrum with Bobby Green above.