So I’m sitting at home watching another boring episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 9.” At this point I just feel obligated to watch the show as an MMA fan. I have totally lost interest, don’t really care who wins and really only wait for Dana White to appear and rip some poor soul for not having what it takes to be a fighter.
But tonight was worth watching. Not for anything that happened on the show, but for Spike TV’s “Inside the Octagon” segment that airs during one of the commercial blocks. Tonight’s guest was Forrest Griffin, the original Ultimate Fighter winner.
Griffin was talking about his recent loss to Rashad Evans and his upcoming fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 101. During the brief interview he said something that really struck me. When asked how he would respond to his loss to Evans, Griffin said:
“I’m not the best fighter in the world. I shouldn’t be champ of anything. This is a way for me to kind of man up. It’s not about being the best fighter in the world. It’s just about committing yourself to winning for one night.”
That statement made me think of two things. First, it’s no wonder Griffin is one of the most popular fighters in the world. But more importantly, it’s that kind of comment that makes Griffin the perfect opponent to get Silva out of his funk.
Now I don’t want to go into the Anderson Silva debate here. But regardless of what your stance on The Spider may be at this time, it’s hard to argue that for whatever reason, the Silva we’ve seen during his last two fights is not the same fighter that’s stepped in the octagon in the past.
I think there may be a lot of differing reasons as to why that may be but most MMA fans agree Silva hasn’t been himself in his last two fights against inferior opponents.
I think most of us would also agree that White has been irate over Silva’s last two performances. The Spider is one of UFC’s top fighters and White can’t have his crowds booing him after two consecutive fights.
After the Thales Leites fight, White knew something needed to be done, so he called on one of his most trusted fighters to fix the problem.
There is no question that Griffin is one of White’s favorite fighters. White loves guys with heart and no one on the UFC roster has a bigger heart than Griffin. No one.
White also has a soft spot for what Griffin has done to help catapult the UFC into the mainstream. He has called the finale of “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 1” between Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, “The most important fight in UFC history.”
So it makes sense that White would ask Griffin to bring out the best in Silva. Griffin’s very nature won’t allow him to sit back and be boring like Leites. Griffin doesn’t enter a fight just hoping to survive. He gives everything he has and would rather lose than lay on his back and just survive for five rounds.
White knows this about Griffin. He knows Silva needs a push. It’s a perfect matchup.
When Griffin makes comments like “I’m not the best fighter in the world. I shouldn’t be champ of anything,” it makes fans want to root for him. But win or lose at UFC 101, you know he’s going to come to fight and he’s going to give everything he’s got. Dana White knows it too.
And here is a prediction: No one will be booing at the end of the Forrest Griffin-Anderson Silva fight.
Forrest Griffin may not be the best fighter in the world but he is, and always will be, Dana White’s ace in the hole. And oh by the way, he’s a darn good fighter as well.