For much of his life, Forrest Griffin has been an underdog. Expectations were never too high for the former Ultimate Fighting Season 1 Champion, and that has been the primary reason for his success. He flew underneath the radar on the hit reality show, only to walk away as the winner. In that epic final against Stephan Bonnar, Griffin showed the heart and grit that it takes to one day be a champion. That fight was three years ago, and it is just now that he is finally on the doorstep of a title bout.
So how did a guy that at one point in his life was in such a tight financial bind that he couldn’t go to the doctor to fix his arm that was broken from a fight, find himself on the cusp of becoming the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion?
“There’s two things you’ve got to do,” Griffin told TAGG Radio. “You’ve got to work every day as hard as you can to do everything you can in your power to win the fight — just do everything in your power to win the fight. It’s kind of like the prayer that the alcoholics say. Control everything in your power and leave the rest up to God or Yahweh or whoever you happen to believe in. The rest is the rest. I don’t worry about it.”
And if that means being in the gym 24/7, then that is what you have to do. And that is exactly what Griffin did, literally.
Years ago before TUF was created and the the UFC was just a dream in his heart, Griffin was forced to sleep in the gym in which he trained because he didn’t have enough money to pay for training and rent. It is a true Rocky Balboa type story, and Griffin loves it.
“I prefer being an underdog,” Griffin said.
However, he doesn’t always like being an underdog. In fact there is only one thing that he would change about being one, and that is the order in which he has to enter the Octagon.
“…I prefer to go out second. Usually when you’re the underdog you have to go out first,” stated Griffin. “So if I just win that belt, then I could always come out second.”
The theory makes sense and is the epitome of Griffin, simple and straight forward. When explaining if he is preparing any differently to face current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, his response was typical Griffin.
“My opinion, I don’t worry about the other guy’s house,” Griffin expressed. “I get myself in order and whatever he does is him. I don’t care if he’s running on the moon. I don’t care if he’s not training at all. What he does doesn’t matter.”
Most top tier fighters approach fights the same way Griffin does; focus on what you do well and make your opponent adjust to your superior skills. And losing, well, that’s not an option.
“It’s funny; nobody likes to lose,” Griffin said. “And one thing I’ve never wanted to be in my life is a good loser. I had little temper tantrums, and he had rampages, and we got kind of uppity with each other a couple times. It’s just (that) I like to win, and apparently he (Rampage) does, too. Imagine that.”
This underdog is just one victory away from UFC immortality, imagine that.