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Griffin's style made for wars

Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
Photo by Chris Cozzone

With a 13-2 record, it’s a foregone conclusion that a fight with Tyson Griffin will be far from an easy fight.

There’s also a good chance that Griffin’s opponent will leave the arena with an extra check in hand.

Since making his UFC debut in 2006, five of Griffin’s eight UFC fights have earned him—and the opponent—Fight of the Night honors (Griffin also has one Submission of the Night award to his name as well).

For a lightweight fighter looking to stash away some extra savings in this tough economy a bout with Griffin is one seemingly surefire way to some added economic security. However, along with those $60,000 checks will come one of the toughest 15-minute stretches in a fighter’s career.

The Sacramento native—who now calls Las Vegas home—is known for going full speed for the entire bout and rarely lets his foes stop for a breather. To Griffin, that’s just the way he fights—the extra recognition is just icing on the cake.

“I think it’s just my style,” Griffin says when questioned about all of the accolades. “My style puts on exciting fights, and obviously matchups make exciting fights. There have been fights on the same card that I thought deserved Fight of the Night as well. I don’t make it a point to go out and put on a show.”

That Griffin refuses to go out and put on a show may make him all the more dangerous once the cage door closes. Going 110% is ingrained in his fighting style, almost robotic at this point. When the bell rings, Griffin pushes the “on” button and doesn’t stop until the clock ticks to zero of round three if necessary. Though he’s pleased with the spoils of war, he remains highly critical of some of his show stopping performances.

“Most Fight of the Night’s means that it goes to the decision,” he notes. “The dominating fight of the night’s are great, but the ones that are razor thin aren’t so great. I’d rather have knockout of the night or submission of the night.”

Griffin’s desire to finish more fights is not due to a lack of trying—or a lack of power on his part. A “knockout artist” by no means, Griffin’s striking is crisp and accurate, a testament to his training camp work ethic. If the man standing opposite Griffin refuses to respect his power before the fight, the 25-year-old says his opponents will just have to learn the hard way.

“I don’t know about before the fight, but once I get in there [I think they respect my punching power]. I think I hit hard. When I get in there and hit people, I make them respect it.”

The decision victories and the punching power are two things that make Griffin’s upcoming bout against former lightweight number one contender Hermes Franca so interesting. In Franca, Griffin faces another jiu-jitsu fighter who also packs a mean punch himself. Something Griffin is fully aware of.

“The one thing he brings to the table is one punch knockout power,” he says of Franca. “I’ve gotta respect his power or the night could be ended really quick.”

On the flip side, Griffin warns that Franca will respect his punches by the night’s end.

“Whether it’s before or during the fight, Hermes is going to respect the power.”

For Griffin, the bout with Hermes Franca is a coming out of sorts. Though he holds notable wins over the likes of Clay Guida, Marcus Aurelio, and Urijah Faber, a win over Franca—a former number one contender in the lightweight division—is the victory Griffin feels he needs to cement his name amongst the elite in the 155-pound division.

“Hermes is one of those guys that I was looking to compete against when I first got into the UFC,” Griffin says.

Though his first shot against a big name didn’t go as planned in his unanimous decision loss to Sean Shark at UFC 90, Griffin looks at the pending bout as redemption of sorts.

“Here’s another chance to prove that I can beat someone that had a title shot.”



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