The names Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar will forever be linked based on the impact their Ultimate Fighter Finale match-up had on the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts in general. The entertaining 2005 tilt created countless new fans and sparked a tremendous growth in popularity, bringing MMA into the mainstream.
Fittingly, both men will exit the organization as they entered it – together – as each announced he’d decided to call it a career in recent months and are expected to be enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame this summer during a Fan Expo attached to UFC 162. That is, unless someone is playing a mean joke on the two affable athletes.
“Well, no one actually called and told me,” joked Bonnar alongside Griffin on Inside MMA.
“It might not be true. I found out on Twitter. I’m gonna real pissed come July if it’s been a prank that somebody on Twitter played on me,” added Griffin.
Griffin also addressed the brewing controversy over putting Bonnar, who never won nor fought for a UFC title and failed two drug tests for PED use, into a group supposedly reserved for the organization’s biggest players. Asked to justify the decision, Griffin stated, “Obviously (the TUF) fight and being in the right place at the right time, pretty much the same as me. I’d rather have good timing than skill any day.”
Bonnar seemed unbothered by the criticism surrounding the decision, simply saying, “If they want to put me in the Hall of Fame, then like my God, what an honor…I never really expected it. Just being a part of the UFC was cool enough.”
The full feature with Griffin/Bonnar can be seen below:
Front-Page Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports