As a former UFC champion and winner of the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter, top 205lb’er Forrest Griffin has surely done enough to earn a spot among the all-time greats in the sport of mixed martial arts. Yet it is not his ranking or list of accolades for which Griffin is most respected and appreciated by the MMA community.

Forrest’s career-defining moment came when he faced fellow light heavyweight competitor Stephan Bonnar at the TUF season one finale in 2005. Regarded as one of the greatest bouts in mixed martial arts history, this relentlessly exciting three-round war earned the UFC record viewing figures and helped catapult the entire sport of MMA to a new level of notoriety in the western world.

Without the warrior spirit of a young Forrest Griffin, who knows where the sport we all know and love would be today? One could argue that Zuffa, MMA media and indeed everyone involved in the industry owe their livelihoods to this gritty athlete. It would be hard to argue against such a statement.

To see the full list of the 100 greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history, grab a copy of Fighters Only’s 100th issue, on sale now in the UK, US, Canada and Europe.