The original main event for this Saturday was originally scheduled to be between the touted second-coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov and #4 ranked lightweight, Islam Makhachev and the #3 ranked Beneil Dariush. Unfortunately, Dariush had to pull out of the fight earlier last week with an ankle injury that occurred in training. Makhachev, who has had numerous opponents pull out of his fights was now without yet another opponent, until Bobby Green, who just fought on the UFC 271 card just two weeks ago decided to step up. Bobby Green, who is currently unranked, put himself up to take the 10-day short notice fight against a highly ranked and very dangerous opponent. In a stylistic match-up nightmare for most opponents, Makhachev’s high level grappling, reminiscent of Khabib, is a force that almost all his opponents have not been able to handle, and now Bobby Green has a chance to not only cause one of the biggest upsets of this year, but also a chance to propel himself further into rankings of such a dangerous lightweight division and possibly set himself up for title contention at just 35 years old.
Bobby Green’s style and personality has won him the hearts of many MMA fans over the years, but his life story is what brings a lot of meaning to the performances he has put on in the ring. Green, originally from San Bernardino, California, grew up in a broken household and was constantly surrounded by gang violence. With an incarcerated father and mother facing substance abuse issues, Green grew up homeless, wandering the streets with his mother and siblings and living home to home amongst relatives. Recalling the worst of his young years, Green said at times he would face hunger so badly that he would eat dirt and that his pampers would remain unchanged for days at a time as a toddler. At a young age, Green knew how raw and hard life can be, laying the foundation for one of the toughest fighters in the UFC roster.
At the age of five, Green was given to his grandmother, as she was the only person who could care for Green and his six-month-old brother. Green found motivation from his grandmother, who took the foundational role of both parents and became the first role model to him. In school, Green found a home in wrestling, a way to stay out of the gang life that took away many kids like him, even his own brother, who joined a gang at just the age of 12. Using his natural athletic ability and intellect, Green succeeded in wrestling early on. When his grandmother passed at the age of 56, Green was determined to make her proud. Green was taken in by a wrestler on his team in order to stay out of the foster care system and continue to compete in wrestling and get to the state championship. Green’s story inspired the rest of his high school team and motivated them to be the best versions of themselves that they could be. Green would go on to become a state champion.
Green found his chance at glory through an adult wrestling tournament that exposed him to people who encouraged him to fight in low-level MMA circuits, long before the creation of amateur level MMA. Being thrown into the ring with only his wrestling acumen and only two weeks of training, Green had his first fight in Mexico. He was victorious and started using fighting as his primary means of income, staying away from the trouble of gang life that surrounded him. Although he had some losses, Green was able to use his natural talents to develop his striking and other abilities in the ring without much coaching. With more and more wins, Green began feeling that he could truly be a fighter. Fighting gave him a name outside of the labels put onto him as a “street” kid. Bobby “King” Green earned his recognition in the ring, making a new name for himself.
After becoming champion in the King of the Cage promotion, Green joined Strikeforce in 2011 and started putting on always entertaining fights which earned him even more recognition. Green went on to join the UFC after they bought out Strikeforce and the contracts of the fighters that were with the promotion at the time. With a stunning debut, defeating an undefeated opponent, Green would go onto his own four fight win-streak in the promotion. But tragedy would strike Green again as his brother was shot in a drive-by in 2014. The loss hurt Green beyond what words can say, but Green would still go on to fight the biggest fight of his career. The fight was dedicated to his brother. Green would go on to put on a spectacular display of violence with Josh Thomson and earned himself a split decision victory to honor his brother. The toughness shown by Green through the adversity he has faced has molded his fighting style.
Green has had some of the best fights seen in the UFC, showing ridiculous grappling ability developed in his younger years and slick, evasive striking, that sees him slip by his opponents and land his own shots at will. He shows the same resilience in the ring as he has shown throughout life, consistently being too tough to go down, especially when competing in arguably the toughest division the UFC has ever had. Although Green has slipped out of the rankings over time due to injury and being on the wrong side of close split decisions, he has never let the fighting spirit leave him. His last three fights have been some of the most entertaining that I have seen in recent memory. Green’s fight with #11 ranked Rafael Fiziev had fans on the edge of their seats and his first round knockout of Al Iaquinta just last November was his first knockout finish since his debut. His last fight under a month ago at UFC 271 saw him put on a striking clinic against a dangerous Nasrat Haqparast who could not do anything but get beat down by Green over 15 minutes. This short notice fight this weekend is just another chance for Bobby Green to prove how much of a badass he is, this time against an opponent most have avoided in Green’s first ever main event fight. And who knows? Maybe there is an upset and title shot in the near future for Bobby Green.