Forrest Griffin was the right man at the right place at the right time.
The Columbus, Ohio, native joined the inaugural cast of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in 2005 and emerged as one of its breakout stars, as he went on to defeat Stephan Bonnar at the unforgettable finale and lock down a “six-figure contract” with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Griffin spent the better part of a decade competing at a high level in the UFC, where he compiled a 10-5 record and captured the undisputed light heavyweight crown. He announced his retirement in 2013 and was later inducted into the modern-era wing of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Nearly eight years removed from Griffin’s final appearance inside the Octagon, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. His technical skills often went overlooked.
Despite his reputation as a blood-and-guts brawler, Griffin excelled in the grappling department. In fact, he had more career victories by submission (six) than he did by knockout (four). Griffin had two preferred methods on the mat, as he posted four wins by rear-naked choke and two others by triangle choke. His list of victims included Chael Sonnen, Ebenezer Fontes Braga and Mauricio Rua.
2. The peak was brief.
Griffin’s 175-day reign atop the light heavyweight division was the third-shortest in history at 205 pounds. Only Randy Couture (127 days) and Rashad Evans (147 days) spent less time on top of the mountain. Griffin upset Quinton Jackson for the title on July 5, 2008, then surrendered it to Evans a little less than six months later.
3. He never shied away from a challenge.
The seven men who defeated Griffin—Evans, Rua, Anderson Silva Tito Ortiz, Keith Jardine, Jeremy Horn and Dan Severn—have 309 combined victories between them.
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4. Numbers paint him in a positive light.
Griffin still resides in the Top 10 all-time among UFC light heavyweights in a number of statistical categories. He ranks second in significant strikes landed (796), fourth in post-fight bonuses (six), fifth in total strikes landed (1,096), sixth in submission attempts (eight), eighth in wins (10), eighth in takedown accuracy (.435) and 10th in appearances (15).
5. He branched out from MMA.
“The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner has enjoyed some crossover success, having appeared in a number of feature films. They include “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” “13” and “Unrivaled.” Griffin also landed roles in commercials and on television shows, like “Ball Up” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
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