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Bobby Green enters the Octagon before his lightweight fight against Jalin Turner during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on December 02, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
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UFC 300

Bobby Green: It's All About Respect

Veteran Lightweight Discusses Fighting At UFC 300, History With Jim Miller

For a great many years, Bobby Green felt like an under-appreciated, misunderstood talent; someone that was far better than fans and media ever admitted or understood and whose approach both inside and outside the Octagon was interpreted entirely wrong.

Over the last couple years, however, everyone has slowly started to recognize the 37-year-old veteran from California’s Inland Empire for who and what he is — a veteran stalwart bent on putting on a show at all times, committed to giving the fans their money’s worth and his opponents the kind of tough, competitive fights he wants in return.

In advance of his long-overdue clash with Jim Miller this weekend at UFC 300, it feels like “King” is finally getting the recognition he’s earned.

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“For me, it’s an honor,” Green said of competing on the promotion’s tricentennial this weekend at T-Mobile Arena. “They only had a few slots they could pick, and I was one of those slots. It’s true history — it’s history; these things are forever. It’s ‘who was on 300? Who was on 200? Who was on 100?’ and it’s one of those things I feel like I got to be rewarded for all my hard work.

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"Any job you do, you want to be honored for your work, so I think this is a little bit of validation.

“I thought it was never coming,” he continued, admitting there were moments where he was resigned to his fate. “I was so misunderstood — people didn’t understand I was trying to give them a show; they took me as a cocky fighter, they took me as this or that. I was gonna retire five times already, but finally, people are being more aware of what it is I’m trying to do.”

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While he takes great pride in being selected to take part in Saturday’s historic event, the matchup with Miller has become personal in the run-up to this weekend’s pay-per-view.

The divisional staples have been scheduled to fight each other three times in the past, and in each instance, Green has been forced to withdraw.

In 2014, he suffered an injury that forced him to the sidelines. In 2021, their bout at UFC 258 was scuttled the day before the event, when Green passed out after weighing in and was pulled from the card. Sixteen months later, they tried again, only for Green to once more be unable to make it to the fight.

Bobby Green celebrates his submissionvictory over Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 291 event at Delta Center on July 29, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Bobby Green celebrates his submissionvictory over Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 291 event at Delta Center on July 29, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Miller has been open about his apprehension when it comes to being re-booked against Green this weekend, the history between the two providing him with skepticism.

“I heard it from him directly and I’ve been feeling this way, so once we lock eyes, once we get around each other, I’ll let him know how I feel,” said Green, who has never been one to mince words with opponents, or anyone for that matter. “Jim just rubbed me wrong with that, and he’s gonna pay dearly for it.

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“I’m a person that tries to do everything for the show. I got injured, blew my knee out the first time. The second time, he had an opponent pull out and I jumped in for the opponent, cut 30 pounds in two weeks, made the weight, but when I went to go see the doctor, I passed out. My lung collapsed, my kidneys failed, and I was in the hospital for the weekend.

“So when he’s saying these things like you don’t think I can make it, I just jumped through the hoops to try to make some things happen in order to fight you,” he added. “So now, when those doors lock, you’re gonna get a personal ***-whoopin.”

Always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, the shift from a respectful matchup between two veteran competitors to a more personal battle isn’t something that unsettles Green.

Bobby Green | Career Retrospective
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Bobby Green | Career Retrospective
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In fact, if anything, his coaches believe it helps him to elevate his game.

“My coach has always told me I thrive and I fight my best when they personally jab me,” he said with a smile. “When they personally do things, I have the best fights, and I feel like this is gonna be the same thing.”

Animosity notwithstanding, there is a great deal of mutual respect between these two men, perhaps more than you would find between many of the other pairs of athletes on Saturday’s monumental lineup, simply because they know how long and how hard the other has pushed to reach this place and still be competing at the highest level.

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Miller has the most fights and wins in UFC history and has been a pro since the tail end of 2005. Green debuted a little over two years later, forging a reputation for himself on the California regional circuit, then posting four wins in as many appearances under the Strikeforce banner before matriculating to the Octagon from there.

They’ve spent a combined 69 fights and 19 years competing in the deepest, most competitive division at the highest level in the sport, and while there is a little animus building between the two right now, the admiration has always been there, and will remain after the dust settles as well.

Bobby Green punches Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 291 event at Delta Center on July 29, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Bobby Green punches Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 291 event at Delta Center on July 29, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“I feel honored that they gave me this chance again when they could have picked someone else,” Green said of getting another opportunity to finally share the cage with Miller. “It’s dope to finally get it done, on a stage like this, where all the eyes are watching.

“I’m fascinated,” he responded when asked about Miller’s recent run, which includes back-to-back wins, victories in five of his last six, and finishes in each of his last nine victories, a stretch that dates back to UFC 205. “I’m in awe and have respect for him to keep pushing this long, and he’s winning in great fashion to top it off. I’m happy for the kid.

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“When I approached the fight, I was approaching it as a respectful fight, because I do respect him,” added Green. “But now, you think I wasn’t gonna show? Okay, I’m gonna show you.”

In a career that has brought many different ups and downs, including a late-stage renaissance and overdue appreciation from the masses, a place on the biggest card in UFC history feels like the kind of moment that would likely rank near the top of Green’s personal list of career highlights.

But the always thoughtful veteran couldn’t say for sure, opting instead to delay his answer until after Saturday night’s matchup with Miller is over.

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“I don’t know,” he said when asked where a victory this weekend would fit on his all-time list of career achievements. “I have to be there in the moment to figure that out.

“Being around this for so long, there are so many highs and lows that come with this, I can think of three other moments that were my highest, so we’ll see if it lives up to those.”

 

McKenzie Pavacich contributed to this story.

UFC 300: Pereira vs Hill took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 13, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass