When Forrest Griffin first emerged onto the MMA scene he was primarily known as a freestyle (aka street) fighter; a guy that could take a punch as well as he could deliver one and not particularly exceptional at one thing. However, as we all saw at UFC 86, he has now become good enough at every aspect of the fight game to become a Champion.
Prior to his Light Heavyweight championship bout against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rampage was quick to point out that Griffin wasn’t a “feared” enough fighter to be a champion. And Griffin didn’t disagree with him, even after he walked away with the title.
“I’m not, I’m not,” Griffin emphatically stated in his UFC 86 post-fight press conference.“I’m not the super submission guy. I don’t hit, (like) a super knock out guy.”
So the question is, do you have to be “feared” to be a champion?
“You look at the (current UFC) champs man; Anderson Silva, terrifying, BJ Penn, Terrifying,” said Griffin. “Every other Champion but me is terrifying.”
Jackson, now the former Light Heavyweigiht Champion, is “feared” for his knock out power. His unique ability to end a match instantly with a single shot creates an aura of invincibility.
“I could have tried to hit Quinton a little more, but the thing is, he’s got too much power,” Griffin stated of Rampage’s puches.
So where does that leave the newly crowned Champ? How will his inability to project “fear” onto his opponents affect his title reign?
“I’m not a feared guy, but I’m gonna fight your for 25 minutes, whoever you are,” Griffin put simply. “Anybody at 205. I’m not gonna break. I’m not gonna quit. Same (expletive) I always say.”
“I’m just a dude trying to put it together, but the one thing that I got is I’m gonna fight you ‘til the end, like a dog,” Griffin added.
He surely has put it together. And, maybe that is where Griffin can strike “fear” into the eyes of his opponents. His relentlessness and never ending motor is an “x-factor” that opponents can’t possibly prepare for. How can you counter someone that will never stop?
Even after coming off of the biggest victory of his life, Griffin continues to remain humble, knowing that there are many holes in his MMA game that he needs to work on if he intends to retain his title.
“I’m not that good at takedowns, but on the ground I’m alright,” Griffin said. “That transition game and that takedown game, that’s something that I need to keep working (on) with Randy (Couture). It’s not fluid. It’s not one, two to the shot, ya know? If we just go out there and just wrestle, I can wrestle. I just can’t put them together well yet.”
Not the best at anything, but is pretty good at a lot of things. In the meantime, he will just settle for being the Champion while he continues to learn and improve. Not a bad place to be.
(Picture Courtesy of MMAWeekly.com)