Forrest Griffin meets Tito Ortiz in the headline fight of UFC 106 this weekend. The two first met in 2007, with Ortiz taking a controversial split decision win.
Can you glean anything useful from your first fight at UFC 59?
Forrest Griffin: Yes. I mean, there’s a little bit to be gleaned from it, you know, tendencies don’t tend to change. But obviously it was a long time ago. I’m a lot different. I’m sure Tito’s a lot different so you know you want to you know take what it has to offer, but with a grain and salt.
There is a big difference in personalities between you both; how will that emerge in the fight?
Forrest Griffin: I don’t put any stock in the personalities. It’s the actual 15 minutes that makes a difference. Personality is whatever – Tito’s got a good personality. I’m relatively likeable. It doesn’t really matter. I mean the fight’s a fight. Really, why waste your time and energy thinking about anything else?
Your first fight with Ortiz was a close split decision. Do you feel like you won any extra fans in that fight?
Forrest Griffin: Yes. It certainly didn’t help me, or didn’t hurt me. I mean you know it was a loss but you know I showed up and I survived some adversity there in the beginning getting beaten and I kind of came back and held my own towards the end.
So it was definitely it was kind of a wake-up for me and people like that underdog story. People like to see a struggle, so yes, it didn’t hurt me as far as fans go.
Your last fight was kind of disappointing. Do you think that the book launch and book tour distracted you?
Forrest Griffin: No, it really didn’t. It was only a week-and-a-half you know. I mean I trained for that fight for a good 13 weeks. So I’m – no, no I don’t know, I think Anderson Silva was pretty much the problem, not the book tour.
How important is it to go out and not only win but also to make a statement?
Forrest Griffin: Oh man, I’m not looking to make a statement. You know I’m looking to win a fight, any way that can happen. You know I’ll take anything. I don’t care. I’m not looking for something spectacular.
Tito talks about the mistakes I make and sure, I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes I go for stuff that’s not there. A lot of times I do actually. And you know that’s something you got to be careful with you know so I really just want to win. I don’t care how it comes, in what fashion, a win would be great.
Do you ever worry that you train too much going into the fights?
Forrest Griffin: I don’t know. You know if it was up to me I would probably never fight, but I would be the most ready guy in the world. You know my mindset is just to train that day with everything I have and then when you keep doing that you kind of – you break down and maybe your workouts you know they – you don’t have the pop you had at the beginning.
So I don’t know that’s something that you know I’ve got to get with my people and work on about and maybe schedule some workouts a little differently.
Do you have any pre-fight rituals?
Forrest Griffin: I’m still working on that. I’m still working on that. I always drink a cup of coffee on the way to the arena. I usually get there, due to cutting weight and then re-hydrating, I go to the bathroom about 35 times. When I finally get done with that, I warm up and I go fight. It’s always a little different. Maybe if I had a ritual, huh?
Tito says he sees mistakes on your part and he also believes you are not punching as hard as you used to. Do you agree?
Forrest Griffin: If anything I punch a little better I think. We’re going to try to work on keeping our hands up when we throw kicks. That’s something I’ve really been remiss about and obviously getting my feet back on the floor after I throw kicks. That’s something I’m horrible about and Tito’s obviously not a guy you can leave a foot off the ground with you know.
Do you see any mistakes in Tito that you can exploit?
So, as far as Tito’s mistakes you know I don’t know, it’s hard to say from that first fight. You know he came in with his knee all bandaged up and so it looked like he was having trouble (shooting) after the first round.
So I looked at some of his older fights and he explodes through a lot of stuff if I can get lucky and get a knee up when he’s doing that kind of smash double he does, that would be nice, or just get out of his way.
You got married recently; how is that affecting your training and fighting?
Forrest Griffin: Man, I’ve never been happier. I guess a lot of people say that when they first get married and I’m aware I’m a newlywed, but you know it’s great you know. I’ve got support. I’ve got everything. I’ve got a wife that makes my meals, takes care of me – all my needs are met, you know?
Things are going great and it’s helping me to have a more positive outlook and start training more to have fun instead of what I’ve done in the past. The last couple years is just train out of fear, train out of anxiety – am I training enough, am I doing this enough, am I doing that enough?
Wanting to go to the gym and have fun and be like, yes, I’m going to submit some people today. I’m going to drop somebody with a body shot today, it’s going to be fun. And I think that’s kind of been the difference for me is being more positive.
MMA is a tough sport. Are you religious, do you ever call upon a higher power for help?
Forrest Griffin: No, man. MMA isn’t tough, this is not a hard sport, man, this is an easy job. And I don’t work – I work may 22 hours a week tops you know and it’s more just travel from gym-to-gym and you got to eat and you’ve got to do whatever, but this isn’t a hard job, man, this is an easy job. It really is.
You know it’s hard one night and not even the whole night, just the first couple minutes you know when you’re in there and there isn’t shit going on. Oh, and I agree with Tito about everything except the cussing. I’m not, I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t think cussing is that bad.
But anyway, no. For me you know it’s just about being thankful and realizing how much I have, which I haven’t done in the past and I’ve always wanted more, which I think is the mark full out of successful people you know. I’m always frustrated with my performance.
You know I’m always mad my jab didn’t come back. I’m always mad I’m standing too tall. You know I’m always frustrated with myself about things and I’m learning not to be so frustrated. And you know to kind of look more on how fortunate I am you know how really blessed I am.
It sounds you know stupid, but when there comes a point in life when you’re needs are met and you start looking around trying to help people and that’s kind of where I’m at now you know. All my wants and needs are met you know I don’t need anything else. I don’t need anything, a car, anything you know.
I’m going to be able to support my family the way they’re accustomed to for the rest our lives. You know now the thing is to try and help other people and I kind of believe there is something out there because when I do good things, I feel good. When I do things that are good for me, I only feel good temporarily and then I feel guilty about it. So that’s what kind of leads me to believe that there’s got to be scenting out there.
Questions and answers taken from recent UFC conference call