I just got finished listening to a UFC 72 conference call and it left me with some concerns about Forrest Griffin.
They’re is a saying that some knockouts can be so brutal that a fighter never truly recovers emotionally. Well, I don’t think Forrest is done as a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think his devestating loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 66 might have some lingering effects.
While Griffin has never be the type to come off as arrogant or overconfident and has always had a tendency to poke fun at himself, my feeling was that he might be questioning himself a little bit.
Remember the scene in Rocky III after Rocky got owned by Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed showed up at Mickey’s Gym out of nowhere? And Apollo kept telling Rocky that he needed to get back that “eye of the tiger?” Well, I think someone needs to have that talk with Forrest.
Griffin stated on more than one occasion that his biggest concern about his fight against Hector Ramirez was the possibility of getting knocked out. He even said at one point that after the Jardine fight he’s just not sure his chin is as solid as he tought it was.
I also asked Forrest about the reported re-occurence of staph infection in his knee and whether this bout had almost been called off. He didn’t address whether his fight with Ramirez was almost cancelled, but he did say the staph infection returned a second time and that he was on antibiotics for about a month.
Once he confirmed the return of the infection, I instantly had questions about his conditioning. I assumed he was going to tell me everything was going great and it hasn’t really affected him (because fighters only talk about injuries after a fight) but I asked him anyway. Forrest didn’t sound too confident in his cardio and quipped that he’s pretty sure being on antibiotics for a month didn’t do any favors for his conditioning. He also said that he felt the extensive travel for his fight could have an adverse effect on his cardio.
Maybe I am reading too much into things (something I have a tendency to do), but Forrest did not sound like a fighter who is going into UFC 72 expecting to win. My impressions of Hector Ramirez were the exact opposite. Ramirez sounded confident and hungry. He acknowledged that Forrest is a tough guy who can throw fists, but he seemed excited about that prospect, as if he was looking forward to a potential brawl.
Based on all the talk, I just get the sinking feeling we might see another upset in MMA.
Then again, talk is cheap.