The former Rush-Henrietta wrestling standout has won 9 of his first 10 fights after starting the sport last year. Green's last win came against Henry Martinez, who has fought three times in the UFC.
One year ago, Desi Green got a phone call that would change his life. A promoter in the Buffalo area wanted to have the former Rush-Henrietta and University at Buffalo wrestling standout compete in a Mixed Martial Arts event in Niagara Falls.
The catch; Green had 10 days to prepare for his opponent.
“I thought I would just take the guy down if I got into trouble,” Green said. “I was glad it didn’t last long, I tired myself out.”
Even without any jiu-jitsu or boxing training, Green displayed his versatility quickly in his first MMA fight. He submitted his opponent in 36 seconds with a rear naked choke.
Green remembers his first fight for much more than a quick submission victory. After the fight, he met the man he would give him his biggest opportunity in the sport; Ryan Ciotoli, the head coach of Team BombSquad out of Ithaca.
Green decided to pack his bags and train in Ithaca full-time. Now, his career could be on the fast track to stardom.
Green is currently training for his debut in Bellator Fighting Championships, the second largest MMA promotion in the United States. He will fight at 145-pounds on Sept. 13 live on Spike TV.
“As a fighter all you want to do is get to the UFC or Bellator, those are the biggest promotions; to have this opportunity I am overly excited,” Green said.
Unlike the UFC, Bellator is structured around tournaments. Green admits this might be the longest notice has had for a fight; in one year he has already fought 10 times, racking up nine wins.
Ciotoli knew of Green’s exploits in Section 5 after having trained with several former Section 5 standouts. Since coming to Ithaca, Green has been working hard on getting his jiu-jitsu and boxing up to the level of his wrestling.
Green trains six days a week at the gym, for a total of about 25 hours. When he is not in the gym he is working to support his children, three-year-old Tsajelia and newborn son Desmond Jr.
Ciotoli didn’t have to work hard to get Green to come to Ithaca. After one visit that included a quick sparring session, Green decided to leave Western New York and move to Ithaca.
“He’s improving literally every week,” Ciotoli said. “He is very raw but the skills he does have the wrestling, the speed, the strength, even his striking has come along way.”
Green’s evolving skill set was on display in his last fight. Facing off against Henry Martinez at NEF Fight Night 7, Green recorded a TKO 1:50 into the second round to win promotion’s lightweight title. Martinez was making his debut with the promotion after his previous three fights were in the UFC.
Matt Lee, Green’s MMA trainer, has noticed tremendous growth since they started working together four months ago.
“I have been working with him for three or four months and he was doing good when he got here but he was relying on explosiveness and skill from wrestling,” Lee said. “I am so excited. He is focused, young, and has all the right elements. He has been awesome.”
Green has shown a penchant throughout his athletic career to be a quick study. He didn’t start wrestling for R-H until his freshman year, but he was on the varsity roster before his first match.
Green continued to improve all four seasons with the Royal Comets, culminating his career with a state title at 140 pounds in 2007.
“He didn’t come with a lot of experience but he was competitive and athletic,” said Mickey Marlowe, R-H wrestling head coach. “He didn’t like to lose, that put him in a pretty good spot. We bascially showed him a copule of things, because he always had the edge.”
Green then went on to the University at Buffalo where he won two Mid-American Conference Championships and was primed to break the school record for career victories in his senior year. He never got the chance though as he was kicked off the team heading into his senior year for, according to the school, “multiple violations of team and university policies.”
To his credit, Green finished school and earned his degree in Health and Human Services.
“My time at Buffalo was great,” Green said. “I love my coaches and I still have relationships with them. When I look back at my time there, I wouldn’t change anything.”