I loved Forrest Griffin when I was first getting into mixed martial arts. He was the common man with a great story, the winner of the first ever Ultimate Fighter, a fuckin’ savage in the cage, and for me – a kid who first became interested in the UFC in February of 2008 – he was a living legend. I heard the stories of how his Ultimate Fighter Finale bout with Stephen Bonnar literally saved the sport from going under, about the kind of fighter he is, about the grit and heart he put on display time and time again… and then the first time I got to see him step into the octagon live on television? Griffin defeated Rampage Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
So yeah, after that, you could say he was my dude.
I watched him lose that championship in his very next fight against Rashad Evans, though, and I was heartbroken. Not too long afterwards, Griffin was booked in a light heavyweight bout against Anderson Silva at UFC 101. I couldn’t have been more excited. Up to that point it honestly might’ve been the most excited I ever was for a UFC fight, only Mir/Lesnar II rivaling it. And Griffin RAN to the cage that night, and my heart was racing, annnnnnnd it was over real quick.
Anderson Silva landed 13 punches that night. Five of them were to a grounded Griffin, and Griffin was grounded for those five strikes because three of the eight that Silva threw standing DROPPED the former Light Heavyweight champ. It wasn’t pretty.
Literally everything Forrest threw at Anderson didn’t work. The Spider was just side-stepping him, executing picture-perfect head movement nobody in the sport had ever even seen up to that point, and to be honest…he was straight clowning on my boy. It was like he entered The Matrix, because in that fight at UFC 101, Anderson Silva laid down a beatdown unlike any I’ve ever seen. It was the mismatch of the century, and maybe the millennium, and from that day forward, I hated Anderson Silva. Because he broke my little Forrest Griffin loving heart. Seeing Chris Weidman knock Silva out years later, ending his historic UFC Middleweight Championship reign, was when I finally felt like I had gotten payback, and damn it felt good.
Listen to Griffin himself talk about his “fight” with Anderson, especially if you were/are a fan of his, because it’ll ease the pain and possibly even provide some closure for you when you hear how he’s able to laugh at himself.