The Case for Forrest Griffin

Forrest Griffin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Based on most of the reading I’ve done over the past 24 hours, it seems that Forrest Griffin is the underdog going into his light heavyweight superfight against Anderson Silva this August in Philadelphia. It’s probably for good reason too. Silva has the edge on Griffin standing and on the ground.

This isn’t the first time that Griffin has been in this position before. He was essentially written off against both Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but ended up knocking both of them down the 205 lb ladder. Will he able to do upset Silva as well? It’s possible:

This will be a seriously competitive fight, regardless of what people are saying.  Forrest isn’t an amazing technical striker, but he is very good at throwing in high volume and overwhelming his opponents with his relentless pace.  This is only a 3 round fight, and his style tends to do very well on score cards.  Anderson can’t just take his time getting into this fight, or he could find himself down a round or even two going into the third.

Forrest beat Shogun and Rampage when they were ranked number one in the world at light heavyweight.  People find reasons to diminish these wins, but it’s an exercise in futility.  You can do it to diminish almost anyone’s wins in a sport as unpredictable as MMA.  The bottom line is that before both of those fights, people asked the same exact question people are asking now: “How can Forrest win?”  I admit I was one of them, I thought that Rampage just had too much for Forrest, but it wasn’t the case.  Even if you believe Rampage won that fight, you still can’t deny that it was extremely close, and Forrest performed far better than most expected him to.  Saying Rampage performed badly unfairly diminishes the fact that guys don’t just perform in a vacuum, they perform based on what their opponents bring to the table.  It’s no accident that lots of guys have “off nights” when they fight Forrest Griffin.

I picked Forrest to beat Shogun last year for the fun of it. I honestly thought he was going to get destroyed. I did the same when he fought Rampage, but only because I knew that Jackson eats leg kicks at will in almost all of his fights. Strangely enough, I’m getting the urge to pick Forrest again. Silva’s last two performances against Cote and Leites, are probably the biggest reasons why. It’s obvious that Silva is starting to get bored in the cage since very few are willing to attack him and allow him to counter. Despite the best wishes of many fans, there’s no guarantee that Griffin is going to buck this trend.

Forrest isn’t a better overall fighter than Anderson, but he does sport two qualities that Silva has been severely lacking in recently - heart and the ability to stay on course with a strategy. If the guys at Xtreme Couture can develop a gameplan that Forrest can follow to perfection, Silva’s reign of terror over the UFC might be coming to an abrupt end via a shocking decision.


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