For heavyweight Maurice Greene, 2018 was a year of ups and downs, but thanks to a successful final bout at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale in November it turned out to be a career year.
Coming off a loss to Jeff Hughes at LFA 38 in April of last year, Greene got a shot on The Ultimate Fighter 28, and after losing in the semifinals was able to come back for the finals episode and pick up a win over Michel Bautista and earn his way into the UFC.
“It started out awesome and I got a (LFA) title shot (versus Hughes),” Greene told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought in my heart of hearts that I was going to get the job done, (but) I went out there, fought five rounds, and came up short.
“Then I got the offer to come out for The Ultimate Fighter. I went into house and started off with a bang (with a win over Przemyslaw Mysiala), but came up a little short in the semi-finals (against Juan Espino). At the end of the year I had a job interview and went out and performed (against Bautista). 2018 ended up being a good year for my career. You can’t be upset with how it went.”
Greene feels like his time on TUF was especially beneficial to his training, and has upped his game quite a bit since the start of 2018.
“The biggest takeaway from the show was the training aspect getting ready for these fights,” said Greene. “It’s pretty grueling. I was able to weather the storm. I was thankful to be in the room with the guys and coaches we had.
“I came off the show a better fighter than I was when I fought that title fight. It’s going to be nice to get one back (in my upcoming rematch with Hughes).”
On March 9 in Wichita, Kansas, Greene (6-2) will once again face Hughes (10-1) for the second time in just over a year in a main card heavyweight showdown at UFC on ESPN+ 4.
“I thought the scorecards (in the first fight) were a little lopsided,” Greene said. “(Hughes) did enough to win, but I don’t think he beat me as bad as they said he did, but anyway he won.
“I think it’s a great match-up for me. I’ve been there before. I can get the W. I’ve just got to keep the distance, which I didn’t the last fight. I’ve got to use my reach and pick him apart on the outside.”
Having worked the previous seven years of his career to get into the UFC, now that he’s signed with the promotion, Greene is looking to establish himself in the company over the course of 2019.
“My goals are like I want to utilize this platform to buy a new house,” said Greene. “As far as (goals) athletically, I just go with the flow.
“Whatever comes, I take it with a grain of salt, and we just work to get better, to make the UFC and the general media believe that I belong in the division and that I am no slouch. That’s really the goal: to let them know I’m no slouch and that I’m here to fight.”