Fighting the Man, Not the Aura

By Joe Hall Aug 5, 2009

Forrest Griffin held an open workout on Wednesday. Photo by Dave Mandel.

PHILADELPHIA -- Forrest Griffin has seen it in the faces of Anderson Silva’s previous opponents. They were beaten by the mystique, Griffin says, before the man even laid his hands on them.

“I want to fight (Silva),” Griffin said Wednesday before a workout. “I want to be in there with him. (I’m) not, ‘Oh sh-t, it’s Anderson Silva.’”

The former UFC light heavyweight champion, who meets Silva on Saturday at UFC 101, mentioned Nate Marquardt as an example of someone who underperformed against the Brazilian. Griffin shook his head and said Marquardt is much better than he showed in the July 2007 loss.

“Guys realize they’re fighting Anderson Silva,” Griffin said. “They get frustrated they can’t hit him. He’s so quick, he’s so talented. By the second round, you’re looking for a way out.”

Silva has shown the exit to all of his UFC opponents. If his foes are demoralized before they enter the cage, it’s for good reason. Griffin acknowledges as much and cites it as evidence that he has nothing to lose.

“If you get beat up by Anderson Silva, there’s no worries,” he said. “There’s a big upside there. Somebody’s gotta beat him sooner or later. He might break an ankle on the way to the cage. You never know.”

Assuming Silva survives his entrance injury-free, expect Griffin to try to wear him down. He talked Wednesday about making Silva carry his weight standing and on the ground. He plans to take the center of the cage on the feet but avoid chasing. On the mat, he’ll work to pass guard and advance into side control and mount, where Griffin can force Silva to bear the full brunt of his significantly larger frame.

Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. Regardless, Griffin is adamant that victory or defeat will come inside the Octagon -- not inside his head.

“He’s got that right now,” Griffin said of Silva’s ability to beat someone before the opening bell. “At one point Chuck Liddell had that. Guys have that aura. What I’m saying is, you gotta beat me in a fight. You can’t beat me with your aura.”

Quick Quotes & Notes

• “No matter how bad he beats me,” Griffin said, “it’s easy money.”

• Griffin is looking forward to the Oct. 24 light heavyweight title fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. “I’d really like to see somebody give Machida a hard time,” said Griffin, who speculated that if Shogun is in top form and uses a wild, aggressive style, he could give Machida trouble.

• Griffin’s response to whether Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme movies inspired MMA fighters: “I have no idea. To tell you the truth, I never watched any of that stuff. I was just kind of a big guy in high school and I figured if anybody did that karate sh-t to me, I’d just beat the f--- out of them. No seriously. And then I went to a gym where they did the karate sh-t, and I got my ass whooped by a skinny kid and a fat kid. The Singer brothers. And I thought, ‘Maybe there’s something to that stuff. Maybe I should learn that.’ Because they kept making me not breathe, repeatedly.”
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