Ht: 6’3 – Wt: 205 – Age: 33
Born: Ohio, USA
Fights out of: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Team: Xtreme Couture
Overall Record: 19-7
UFC Record: 10-5
Forrest Griffin was the UFC’s poster boy for the explosion of mixed martial arts during its introductory season of The Ultimate Fighter. Griffin would go on to establish himself as more than just a TUF fighter, winning the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2008. Griffin made his mixed martial arts debut in 2001, losing his first career fight to UFC legend Dan Severn via decision. Forrest bounced back by winning his next 7 fights, including victories over UFC veterans Jeff Monson and Ebenezer Fontes Braga. In 2003, Griffin took part in an 8-man, 1-night tournament where he scored an upset submission victory over Chael Sonnen before losing via knockout to Jeremy Horn. Griffin moved on to fight once more, winning a fight in Brazil before nearly retiring from the sport in 2004. Griffin was swayed back into the fight game in order to appear on season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. Griffin defeated Alex Schoenauer and Sam Hoger to earn a spot in the finals opposite Stephan Bonnar. In the fight that has merited legendary status, Griffin and Bonnar slugged it out for 3 non-stop rounds. Griffin won a close decision, solidifying himself as the UFC’s next breakthrough star. Griffin went on to score 1st round finish victories over Bill Mahood and Elvis Sinosic before taking a huge step up in competition against former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 59. Ortiz started out strong, bloodying Griffin up with ground ‘n’ pound, but Griffin roared back in the final round, nearly pulling off the upset. Griffin lost via split decision, but it was now obvious that he could compete with the elites of the division. Griffin won a rematch against Bonnar at UFC 62, before suffering an upset TKO loss to Keith Jardine in his next fight. Griffin’s status as a future contender took a big hit with his loss to Jardine and struggled to gain back momentum with a lackluster win over Hector Ramirez at UFC 72. The UFC seemed to be throwing Griffin to the wolves as he was scheduled to face off against recently-signed PRIDE star Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Griffin had nothing to lose coming into the fight, and it showed as he weathered Shogun’s early storm of strikes. Griffin methodically wore down Shogun and in the final round he was able to score the submission finish with just seconds left on the clock. Griffin had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in UFC history to become the new challenger for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s UFC light heavyweight championship. Following their coaching stint on TUF 7, they faced off at UFC 86 where Griffin was able to largely avoid Jackson’s punching power. Griffin used leg kicks and well-timed takedowns to continually deny Jackson’s quest for a knockout. Griffin won a razor-thin decision to claim the UFC light heavyweight championship. Surprisingly, an immediate rematch was not granted and Griffin moved on to defend his title against fellow TUF winner Rashad Evans. Griffin lost the title to Evans via 3rd round TKO. Griffin took some time off before returning to face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 101. Silva was seeking new challenges after dominating the middleweight division, but did not find that in Griffin as he easily dominated the former champion, finishing him via knockout in the 1st round. Griffin’s loss was one of the most lopsided fights in UFC history and his days as a title contender looked to be over. Griffin moved on to face rival Tito Ortiz once again, this time winning a decision in another close fight. Griffin was sidelined for all of 2010 due to injury before finally returning at UFC 126 against Rich Franklin. Griffin used his size and strength to grind out a decision victory, once again positioning himself for a possible move up the ranks. Those dreams would be put to rest as Griffin faced off against Shogun Rua, who was hungry to avenge his 2007 loss. Griffin struggled to stand in the pocket as he easily gave in to Shogun’s punches, flopping to the floor and losing via TKO.
Griffin went 1-1 in 2011 as he struggled to maintain his contender status.
Griffin faced off against former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 126. In the battle of fan favorites, Griffin used his size and strength to score a couple of takedowns in the first 2 rounds. Griffin was able to land a few elbows from top position, but otherwise did not have Franklin in any immediate danger. They returned to their feet where Griffin landed his best punches of the fight. Franklin tried valiantly to mount a comeback in the final round, but he was unable to hurt Forrest with his punches. In the end, the judges awarded Griffin a unanimous decision victory.
Griffin, now riding a 2-fight win streak, looked to be nearing title contention as he was booked against fellow former UFC light heavyweight champion Shogun Rua at UFC 134 in Rua’s native Brazil. Griffin had previously defeated Rua in a massive upset back in 2007. Griffin tried to take control of the center of the cage early, but Rua’s strikes began to find their target. Rua eventually dropped Griffin with a combination and easily finished the fight with further big right hands.
Forrest Griffin’s miraculous run from TUF 1 winner to UFC light heavyweight champion was quite an accomplishment, but it seems as if Griffin’s status in the division is quickly deteriorating. Griffin’s desire has been questionable at best in recent performances. Griffin has made a ton of money and has suffered a few knockouts that seem to have him unwilling to absorb punishment as he once had. Griffin’s last two losses have been downright embarrassing and has highlighted the fact that Griffin will never again contend for the title. Griffin has always relied on his toughness, conditioning, and size to grind out decisions, but his lack of speed is growing exceedingly concerning. Griffin may have one more year of solid fighting left in him before likely considering retirement in 2013.
Forrest Griffin Fight Record
Overall Record: 18-7
2008-2011 Record: 3-3
2011 Record: 1-1
Loss | Mauricio Rua | KO | Rd 1 | UFC | 08/27/2011
Win | Rich Franklin | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 02/05/2011
2010 Record: 0-0
2009 Record: 1-1
Win | Tito Ortiz | Dec | Rd 3 | UFC | 11/21/2009
Loss | Anderson Silva | KO | Rd 1 | UFC | 08/08/2009
2008 Record: 1-1
Loss | Rashad Evans | Tko | Rd 3 | UFC | 12/27/2008
Win | Quinton Jackson | Dec | Rd 5 | UFC | 07/05/2008