Griffin Wants Gomi Fight to Erase June Defeat

By Lutfi Sariahmed Jul 30, 2010
Fifty days following a split decision loss to Evan Dunham at UFC 115 on June 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Tyson Griffin will be back on the horse. The Xtreme Couture fighter takes on Takanori Gomi as a late replacement in a featured lightweight bout at UFC on Versus 2 this Sunday in San Diego, Calif.

“I was actually the one that let the UFC know that I was ready to get back in there right away if any of the upcoming lightweights fighting got injured,” Griffin said on the Sherdog Radio Network's “Beatdown” show on Monday. “So I was ready, stayed in shape and got back in the gym a week after the fight and kept the ball rolling. I just continued the camp. I had no injuries after the fight.”

The 26-year-old Griffin, who’s earned “Fight of the Night” honors from the promotion a whopping five times and replaces an injured Joe Stevenson, calls Sunday’s bout “a perfect opportunity.”

“I don't really need much time to prepare,” he said. “It's not like Gomi's got anything spectacular about him. He's just a hard-nosed fighter and aggressive. I've dealt with that a lot. I think that's a perfect matchup for me.”

In fact, the collegiate wrestler said he’d thought about fighting the former Pride Fighting Championships’ titleholder before he joined the UFC’s ranks.

“Before I made the decision to sign with the UFC there were a lot of options on the table for me, Pride being one of them,” said Griffin. “That was some of the stuff that was in the talks, them wanting an American to come in and challenge Gomi and having guys brought in for him.”

When Gomi finally made the jump from Japan to the UFC, Griffin certainly took notice.

“Even when I first heard Gomi signed with the UFC I had my manager get on the phone and tried to get that fight,” said Griffin. “I tried to be the first guy to welcome him to the UFC and I didn't get it, so again, that was another reason I was easily willing to accept the fight when it was offered to me.”

Though he won Sherdog.com’s “Fighter of the Year” accolade in 2005, the 31-year-old Japanese striker is 2-3 in his last five fights. Gomi lost his UFC debut to Kenny Florian via a third-round submission at UFC Fight Night 21 in March.

“I think Gomi may have been out for a little bit and maybe had some ring rust going against Kenny,” said the noted scrambler. “But I think, if anything, he's going to get better and better the more active he is and I'm expecting the best Gomi that he was in Pride and I'm going to fight him in a way that I think should beat him back then and I think the same way now.”

Griffin said he’s completed back-to-back camps totaling 15 weeks, with a one-week break in between. He also brought in his younger brother, another wrestler recently graduated from Oklahoma State University, and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Jamill Kelly to aid him.

Griffin said the way he lost to Dunham has spurred him on to get another fight under his belt fast.

“(It’s) not necessarily the loss, (I’m) just disappointed with my performance and just making simple mistakes,” said Griffin. “It's just being a little frustrated with how I fought and wanting to get that memory out of my head, taking another fight and having another fight in my head, even if it's a loss... I'd rather be beaten than lose the fight and I feel like I lost the fight against Dunham just being stupid and forcing myself out of similar positions when he's on my back and kind of expecting him to choose a different option and him going for something else. I want to erase that out of my head and the fans’ memories as well.”
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