Atlanta, GA — PFL heavyweight Maurice Greene believes this is the time to make his mark in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Paired up with returning champ Ante Delija at PFL 5 in Atlanta this Friday, for Greene (11-7) it all comes down to time.
“Ante got more time. What is he, 34? I got more time too, but Ante got more time,” Greene told media outlets including Cageside Press during this week’s media day. “This is it for me. This is it. This is my opportunity to make my mark in this industry. And this is going to be the first one. This is going to be the first one, I really feel that inside my heart of hearts.”
Despite being teammates with Jon Jones, Greene says the pair have not talked about a potential fight for “The Crochet Boss” with Francis Ngannou, at least not yet. Ngannou and Jones beefed on social media for years, but once Ngannou left the UFC earlier this year, the door closed on that fight.
Still, Greene isn’t looking too far ahead.
“That fight is all irrelevant if I don’t win the tournament. We’re talking one, two, three, four— four steps ahead. Let’s focus on Ante. Because if you don’t beat Ante, you don’t make the playoffs. You don’t make the playoffs, all of it’s for nothing. Nobody cares at that point.”
“We know it’s there,” Greene continued. “That’s the first thing I’m going to do when I win this f*cking tournament, is I’m going to call out the big scary African Francis Ngannou. And that’s it. He’s not that scary, we’re about the same size. He’s just strong, okay? He’s just strong.”
That’s about the only credit Greene was willing to give “The Predator.” “The motherf*cker can’t wrestle, his boxing’s not great. He has a lot of power. His kicks look like garbage. You ever seen him kick? You watched him? It look like a good kick to you? No it doesn’t, don’t lie. But whatever. It’s out there. But if you don’t win the tournament, it doesn’t matter. None of that sh*t matters and nobody cares.”
Greene is facing Ante Delija at an interesting time, as the defending champ was forced to pull out of his first fight of the season. But Greene is working under the assumption he’s getting the best Delija possible, not knowing the nature of the Croatian fighter’s injury.
“He could have stubbed his f*cking toe and got a doctor’s note. We don’t know. We don’t know what it is. I’m assuming I’m getting the best Ante coming off of— maybe he was able to heal the injury and he’s coming in full of steam. And if he’s anything less than that, we’re going to find out Friday night. He’s going to be in for a hell of a fight.”
Watch the full 2023 PFL 5 media day appearance by Maurice Greene above.