Forrest Griffin has always been known for his self-deprecating humor (which I always confuse with “self-defecating” humor). Recently, when asked if he deserves to be mentioned along with guys like Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko, he responded, “Fuck no.” Few would argue with Forrest’s assertions but, if victorious this Saturday night, he may start hearing his name mentioned among the truly elite of the sport whether he likes it or not.
Anderson Silva’s claim as the top pound for pound fighter in the universe is mainly due to his victories over three men: Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, and Dan Henderson. While Fedor has seemingly dominated the heavyweight landscape for an eternity, similar to Silva, Fedor has three truly top level opponents that have helped establish his mystique over the past few years: Minotouro Nogueira, Cro Cop, and Tim Sylvia. If Forrest “puts the stamp” on Evans, that makes three high quality victories for him in a row, including Rampage and Shogun.
A lot of people have looked at Evan’s brutal OMGKTFO over Liddell and are expecting a similar outcome Saturday night. Similarly, a lot of people don’t know their assholes from their armpits. Yes, this is MMA and anything can happen but the differences between Liddell and Forrest are going to make this an entirely different fight. Forrest has much cleaner and orthodox boxing technique than Liddell, evidenced by Forrest’s ability not to drop his hands as if to say, “You won’t punch me right in the jaw. Seriously, try it. Pussy.”
In an interview with MMAweekly.com, Forrest himself says he sees this fight as a “little more like [Evans’] fight with Bisping.” While the similarities between Forrest and Bisping are much closer than Forrest and Liddell, Evans still came out on top in that fight, albeit by split-decision. The size differential between Forrest and Bisping should also provide a greater challenge for Evans, as Forrest walks around at about 220 and Bisping is able to cut to 185.
This fight is literally a toss up, further evidenced by the sportsbook lines, but there’s no arguing that a victory for Forrest would truly cement his name alongside the very best this sport has to offer. A victory would add to his legacy and increase the size of his bank account, but not without a price: the more high quality wins Forrest racks up, the harder it’s going to be for him to try and make us believe he’s not that good.