This day in age in MMA most guys either start out as journeymen or they stay in the game long enough to become one. Many people think of that term as negative but if you think about it, if you are a top talent not signed by the UFC then this is your best way to fight the best out there. One such guy who started out doing just that is a badass out of the Rochester, NY named Desmond Green (18-5) aka Predator Toon (@predatortoon on Twitter). He has been in the cage with some top guys in Bellator, FFC, Titan and others, he is a name I can promise we see in the UFC very soon as the guy is a top talent in and out of the cage. So take a minute to follow him on twitter as he has one of the best pages out there and let’s get to know the man behind the gloves!
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule Desmond. Let’s take it all the way back to the 585 and Henrietta, NY where you grew up. I remember your name on our scouting reports in football and seeing you wreak havoc in the wrestling mat in high school, if I remember correctly you won a state championship. As a fellow guy from that area there isn’t a ton of spotlight on MMA, boxing or combat sports, talk to us about that upbringing in Rochester and what got you into the world of MMA?
Green: Yeah, growing up in Rochester the main thing to do for leisure time is to hang out on the streets or get into sports. I took the sports route, I grew up playing football, wrestling and lacrosse. Started sports around 7 and that kinda really ended up shaping my life. As I got into varsity sports I really began to focus on wrestling. I ended up winning a State title my senior year and went on to get a full-ride division 1 scholarship. During my wrestling years in college my coach did MMA and that comment really sparked my interest earlier because even in high school I seen a couple UFC tapes and you know I thought it was cool but I didn’t really know too much about it I just know I knew how to whoop ass on the street.
Man, that’s what we did in those streets haha. But you turned what could have been a trap, and is for so many there into a positive. Now, family is very important to you as we see on your social media (@predatortoon) as you post a ton with your kids, talk to us about the importance of your family, what your kids mean to your career and how hard is it to go away to train for a fight?
Green: Yeah, family is really important and like you said my kids do mean a lot so at first when they were living in New York and I was staying in Florida training it was hard, going one month almost 2 months without seeing them sometimes but it was all the more motivation to move them down to Florida and now that they’re here it’s great. We have a daycare in my gym so the kids come to practice with me and most times, my three year old Desmond Jr sits on the side and watches, he even practices with the team jumps, they love him. And it’s great that the promotion I am currently signed too primarily hosts there fights in Miami so now my kids get to come to all my fights.
Man, that is awesome! I am sure you love having your son out there and having fun with something you are very passionate about. I still can’t believe you left the comfort of the 10 feet of snow we get in the 585 and traded it in for sun and to train with the Blackzilians. Talk to us about your experience with them, what drew you there and are there any guys that are under the radar that you can talk to us about?
Green: Moving to Florida in training with the Blackzilians really I think, is the best career move I have made thus far. Just the atmosphere of the team and the coaches here, I feel is the perfect mixture and what I need to be a UFC champion. Henry Goofy who is my main coach and he is a master Striker, very well known in the game and you know I just feel like I’m reaching another level with him. We have awesome wrestling coach Greg Jones who was a three-time division 1 national champion. We also have a master’s Jiu-Jitsu coach Neil Melanson who is very well respected in his own craft as well as Jorge Santiago. I call them the Dream Team, and there is a lot of young up-and-coming guys just like me and my gym just to name a few Jason Jackson, Carrington Banks, Tyler Ray and Tywan Claxon just a bunch of guys that you’ll be seeing in the next year or two to making a noise in the in the MMA game.
I couldn’t agree more, it seemed like a rough start with the camp when they began but they have really started to become a main force in the MMA world and a great spot for a guy like you, like you said, they have the tools to make you a UFC champion and I couldn’t agree more. You have been in a bunch of different organizations such as Bellator, FFC out of Florida, Titan, and more. What are some of the major differences you have seen and which promotion so far has been your favorite and why?
Green: Lol pay is the most significant difference between these different promotions. Besides that things aren’t too different between them besides exposure.
Makes sense hahaha. Now with all that experience we are yet to see you make your UFC debut disputed rumors of you stepping in on late notice for people, what do you think has held you back and how close do you feel you are now riding a two fight win streak?
Green: Really I think the only thing holding me back from the UFC now is just a couple more fights in the new weight class I moved too. I have some pretty credible wins against UFC vets and good finishes. On top of me winning my last 3. Although I have a little more than 20 fights under my belt I’ve only been competing and training for a little over 3 years so I still think I’m ahead of the curve. Word is I win my next 2 fights I get signed.
DANA WHITE LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!!! Yeah you have been on that Donald Cerrone pace since you stepped in the cage, which is an amazing thing. Speaking of being in the cage with a lot of big names and getting quality wins like Mike Richman, Steven Siler and the fight that really made you catch my eye, your destruction of Miguel Torres. You have had a pretty impressive career so far for a 26 year old. What are some of your favorite highlights?
Green: Some of my favorite highlights is Def the Miguel Torres 1st round knockout. Then another one that comes to mind is the standing elbow I landed on Angelo Sanchez that stopped the fight reached like 800 thousand views on YouTube lol. My performance as a whole and the experience in Russia was pretty dope. Had another sick finish.
I remember that, your videos on your Instagram (@predatortoon) were great, the training then the dancing hahahaha. Now you are coming off a pretty badass win at Titan 40 vs James Freeman who was undefeated (5-0) coming into that fight with 5 TKO wins. You seemed to put your wrestling and takedowns on display, Talk to us about that fight, how did you prep for his standup and was there an increased emphasis on camp on the takedowns? He took that fight on short notice, did that mess or alter how you run camp at all?
Green: That whole fight camp was thrown off for me. I had my opponent change 3 times in the last 2 weeks so I didn’t know who I was fighting really so I just trained to fight my fight and since I was out of my natural weight class of 155 (fought that at 170) I wanted to use my wrestling to secure the win seeing he was only swinging haymakers.
Yeah that makes sense and when I got a chance to see the video it did kinda seem he came in with the whole EA Sports Fight Night mentality of I am just throwing bombs and hoping one lands. So what’s next in the career for the man known as “Toon” and how did you get that nickname?
Green: Right now they are looking at having me fight for the 155 lb belt. So hopefully if Freddy is healthy by Oct. 29th we’ll be squaring off for the Title and I get to avenge my teammate. I got the nick name Toon from my childhood friends. I always was hooked on cartoons lol would rather watch DBZ than the super bowl.
We would love to see that! Toon with the strap, world better watch out! As for the cartoons man we are starting to see that more and more, guys like Evan Velez, New Day in the WWE and everyone else, forever kids man! Now you have some of the most passionate fans no matter where you fight, they back you live and on social media all the time. Take a minute and talk to us about what your fans mean to you and if you could say one thing to them what would it be?
Green: BIG BIG BIG BIG UPS TO ROC NY love my town. They motivate me, I love y’all and we going to the top. Also big up to Buffalo and Ithaca, have a lot of love there and all of NY. I rep wherever where I go lol and it’s true I really do have the best fans ever. They already make me feel like I’m a champion and that’s key. Win lose or draw. And big ups to my second family in Canada, Tristar and my 3rd family in Colorado, Factory X. And big thanks to you my man for getting this story out there.
Man you got my blood going on that!!! I completely forgot about your time with Tristar! But yeah NY is blowing up, you, Sterling, Bones and more! And thanks for the shoutout you are a guy I personally have wanted to get on here for a while! Now we know your time is precious so we will hit you with the last question and it is that age old Fight Club Question. If you could stand across the cage from anyone no matter age, weight or era, who would it be and why?
Green: If I had the choice to fight anyone it would definitely be somebody that’s going to make me some money so either McGregor, Diaz, BJ Penn, Eddie Alvarez; anybody with a big name.
HAHAHA he says he wants money and first name is the money maker himself! I love it. Now as I am typing this I just saw the fighters in the UFC create a fighters Union, so bonus question, how important do you feel that is in this day in age and why?
Green: I feel it’s key in order for us to get treated like the true professional athletes we are.
I couldn’t agree more! Now before we let you go are there any sponsors or people you would like to mention?
Green: Big shout out to my sponsor Titled Kilt Boca Raton chain… Intensity Nutrition… Hayabusa and the Blackzilians squad and my manager Glen and Authentic Management Team.
There you have it fight fans, the man they call Toon, Desmond Green. Make sure to get over to Twitter and IG and give that man a follow because he really is everything you just read, a family man and an elite fighter. While you are there make sure to follow @TheArtofMMA , @cagechattererik and the face that runs the place, sorry Cena it ain’t you, @_akamike. Coming up in the future we will be talking to Truck Gordon about his CFFC debut and much much more! Thanks for spending some time with us!