But tensions were high just one day before fight night.
Prior to their lightweight meeting at UFC on ESPN 11, Green and Guida had a tense faceoff following Friday’s weigh-ins. The bad blood between the two wasn’t surprising, given that the matchup has been two years in the making. Green and Guida were first scheduled to fight at UFC 225 in June 2018, but that meeting was canceled after Green withdrew due to injury.
Green defeated Guida by unanimous decision on Saturday, and afterward, he explained to the media what happened during their pre-fight staredown.
“It was real,” Green said. “Let’s be honest – see, what’s that saying, where you hit someone and hide your hands? I’m not someone who’s going to come out like that. I’m just going to come out instead and standoff, you know? And he said, ‘I’m glad you made it this time,’ as if to say that we were supposed to fight each other before. I blew my knee out a week before the fight. I had to get surgery, couldn’t work for so long, and it just hurt my feelings.
“I’m like, ‘Oh OK, you want to go there?’ We getting personal. You don’t understand what I’ve been through just to get here and at that time what I went through. Once he said that I was going, ‘OK, you’re disrespectful. No more respect.’”
Green said he matches the energy of his opponents, so if they bring a confrontational attitude to a fight then he’s going to meet that head on. However, any animosity Green felt toward Guida wasn’t particularly evident once they stepped into the cage according to him.
Known for a loose standup style that occasionally sees him dropping his hands to taunt his opponents, Green treated Saturday’s bout as he has many others in his 36-fight career.
“I always talk sh*t,” Green said. “I always just talk to guys, let ‘em know that I’m right there in the fight no matter what. Just being aware of everything. Just having fun, have a good time.”
Though he picked up the win, Green expressed disappointment in his own performance and vowed to do better. The 33-year-old is hoping to compete again soon, mentioning an August return as a possibility.
The Green vs. Guida fight paired up two of the most experienced active UFC fighters. This was Green’s 12th octagon appearance and Guida’s 29th. Putting all of the drama aside, Green praised Guida for providing a challenge worthy of his resume.
“It’s a great experience to fight legends,” he said. “Guys that have been through the test of time, fought champions, so I get to really test myself. It was a great mind game. I noticed that when were fighting, he would switch and make some adjustments.
“He knew I was going here, so he made an adjustment and I’d have to make a new adjustment, then he adjusted me, I adjusted him. It was a real chess game.”