“I tried to punch him and he literally moved his head out of the way and looked at me like I was stupid for doing it. He looked at me like, ‘Why would you do such a stupid thing?’ He looked at me like, ‘Oh, did you really think you were going to hit me? What a stupid thing to think you slow, slow white boy,’ and then he punched me. I felt embarrassed for even trying to punch him. I felt like some kid trying to wrestle with his dad.”
That’s how UFC light-heavyweight Forrest Griffin described his painful run-in with Anderson Silva, which happened exactly four years ago today, on August 8th, 2009. The infamous one-rounder took place during UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, an event that was headlined by BJ Penn‘s second lightweight title defense against Kenny Florian. (The Silva vs. Griffin non-title fight was slotted in the co-main event; to date, it was the only fight in Silva’s UFC career that wasn’t a main event.)
If you’ll recall, Silva scored the knockout with a short, backpedaling right hand (you might even call it Petruzelli-esque), after putting on a brief clinic on head-movement and showboating. Afterwards, Joe Rogan called Griffin’s loss “one of the most embarrassing knockouts I think we’ve ever seen,” which is a little unfair when you consider Anderson’s other-worldly talent and the fact that Griffin was half-zonked on Xanax at the time.
Besides the incredible/humiliating knockout in the co-main event, UFC 101 was notable for a few other reasons. For instance…
- As we recently pointed out, Penn’s rear-naked choke win over Florian was the ninth latest finish in UFC history. Apparently, Florian might have been winning on the scorecards heading into the championship rounds.
- UFC 101 marked the promotional debut of then-undefeated welterweight Johny Hendricks, who had just completed a two-fight stint in the WEC. Hendricks’s first Octagon appearance was a successful one, as he TKO’d Amir Sadollah in just 29 seconds. Ten fights later, Hendricks has earned a shot at the welterweight world title against Georges St. Pierre, the same guy who was holding the belt back in August 2009.
- Rousimar Palhares was supposed to fight on the card against Alessio Sakara, but had to withdraw due to a broken leg, and was replaced by Thales Leites. Sakara won by split-decision, and Leites was fired by the UFC — just four months after he had fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Luckily, he made his way back.
- The show pulled an estimated 850,000 pay-per-view buys, making it (at that time) the sixth most successful UFC PPV ever. Only five UFC events have drawn more buys since then.