(Pain don’t hurt. Image courtesy of udothedishes.com.)
Like James Irvin and Patrick Cote before him, Forrest Griffin is pretty sure he knows what Anderson Silva‘s past opponents have been doing wrong, and doesn’t plan on making the same mistakes when he takes on the Spider in August. As Griffin told MMA Mania:
I just don’t think anyone has actually tried to fight him up to their ability. Irvin went in and charged him, Leben went in and charged him. He’s a southpaw counter-striker … it’s not like I’m going to go jump his shit. If you rush into that guy you’re rushing into a knockout. So I’m going to fight the guy, I’ll hit him, and not get too frustrated when I miss. Because he makes you miss and then he makes you pay for it.
He’s made a lot of guys feel stupid. It’s when guys get hit, and then they can’t hit him back; they just look hopeless … like they almost want the fight to be over…
I will come up with a game plan. I need to score some takedowns while avoiding any guillotines. Silva has got those long limbs…Also, his quickness and the unexpectedness of his style are on my mind. I have never fought a southpaw that I struck with before. I don’t like the idea of fighting a southpaw, it’s weird. And his clinch work, he is just so relaxed when doing it. Other than that I’m not too worried about the fight; it’s only going to be 15 minutes so what’s the worst that can happen?
Well, for the fans, the worst that could happen is if Griffin plays it safe, Silva spends all three rounds waiting to counter-attack, nothing happens during the fight, and Silva loses the last of his flagging popularity. For Forrest Griffin, the worst that could happen is if Anderson Silva — inspired by his first worthy opponent since Dan Henderson — beats him into a coma that he never emerges from.
I think if I were Forrest, I’d try to focus on best-case scenarios here. As Fightlinker puts it, "Forrest on a good day can beat any fighter that’s having a bad day…he seems to be turning into a mini Randy Couture as far as upsets go, so who knows?" Trying to out-wrestle Silva is a good start — though as Hendo found out, that strategy will only get you so far.