For most fighters, your first-ever title defense is probably the most important scrap of your career. However for Forrest Griffin, it appears that it will be the bout after that fight that proves to be his most significant.
“If you think about what a bad dude Anderson Silva is, you can (expletive) yourself silly,” Griffin told MMAWeekly. “He’s gonna hit you. You’re gonna miss him, and he’s going to hit you again. But you’ve got to keep pressure, keep moving.”
Speaking of silly, Griffin was slapped silly by Rashad Evans in his last Octagon appearance at UFC 92. Although Evans isn’t nearly as electrifying as Silva is on his feet, he still managed to separate Griffin from his senses to capture the UFC’s light heavyweight crown.
So the question is, if Evans was able to do that to Forrest, what’s Anderson Silva going to be able to do at UFC 101 on August 8th inside the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
“There’s nobody you’re gonna spar with (that’s going to duplicate him) unless Machida wanted to come help me out, which I don’t think he would,” Griffin said of his fight preparation to meet the most dangerous man he’s ever stood opposite of. “I want my foot outside of his foot. There’s a straight left coming. There’s a kick coming. Where’s the fence? Is he high, is he open for a takedown? Find your distance.
“Once you close the distance, make it count for something. Go in, get hit, and then change your angle and go again. Look for the takedown, look to drive up against the fence.”
Talking stand-up strategy against Silva is one thing, executing it is another. In addition, UFC fans have witnessed what happens when opponents have imported that type of game plan against Silva, nine flawless victories – all but one ending in explosive fashion.
What about taking the fight to the mat?
“Yeah, I’ve got to get on top of him, no doubt,” said Griffin. “I’ve gotta find a way to get him on the ground, make him carry my weight on the fence, on the ground, be heavy on him, hang on him. Otherwise, I’m just a big slow guy. I’ve gotta use the weight.”
If nothing else, Griffin is a huge 205-pounder, so this will be Silva’s most physically imposing Octagon match-up to date. If Forrest can dominate the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace on the ground, he will greatly improve his chances of walking away with a W.
That’s if Anderson Silva doesn’t kill him first.
“I don’t think they’re actually going to let him kill me,” Griffin jokingly states. “And if he does kills me, book sales will really go up. Boom … win-win, bitch.”