Griffin takes on Gomi
Story by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Tyson Griffin is the hardest working fighter you don’t know.
The Las Vegas transplant, by way of California, has an impressive set of Octagon credentials. Of his ten UFC outings, Griffin (14-3, 7-3 UFC) has snared five Fight of the Night honors and one Submission of the Night. In addition, Griffin became the first fighter in the UFC (and just the second ever) to finish Hermes Franca at UFC 103. The TKO victory silenced critics who derided the Xtreme Couture fighter for not being able to finish fights. If the UFC credentials weren’t enough, Griffin defeated Urijah Faber in just his third pro fight (after the loss, Faber went undefeated for the next three years and tore through the WEC’s feather weight division).
With a 7-3 UFC record, you’d think Griffin would be somewhere in line for a title shot.
Evan Dunham changed all that.
At UFC 115, the heavily favored Griffin found himself on the wrong side of a unanimous decision loss to his former teammate. The undefeated Dunham pressed the action, threatened with submissions and set the pace for the bulk of the 15-minute bout.
When the bout concluded, there was a sense that Evan Dunham had arrived; Tyson Griffin was knocked a few pegs down the already crowded light weight division ladder.
The first bout following a loss can be among the most important of a fighter’s career and Tyson Griffin has never come up short when fighting on the rebound. Following his first career loss to current UFC lightweight champion Frank Edgar, Griffin rattled off four straight wins over the likes of Clay Guida and Gleison Tibau. He responded to a loss to former champion Sean Sherk with wins over Rafael dos Anjos and the aforementioned stoppage of Hermes Franca.
This time, Griffin faces a stiff test in UFC newcomer Takanori Gomi. The “Fireball Kid” had high expectations coming into the UFC, but was soundly defeated by Kenny Florian. With a stellar 38-6 record, Gomi can immediately boost his chances for a future title shot with an impressive win over Griffin at UFC on Versus 2.
Conversely, a win over Gomi likely vaults Griffin back into title contention—and a stoppage over Gomi will almost certainly put Griffin one or two fights away from the big dance.
As the cage door closes and the two men lock horns, look for Griffin, 26, to come out and make a statement. Though the five-time Fight of the Night winner loves the checks that come with victories, he’d trade all of those in a heartbeat to have wins over big name contenders.
In Gomi, Griffin may finally get that big name win.