Forrest Griffin is a legend of the Octagon.
A tremendous pressure fighter and master of low kicks, who’s ready to fight until the last dying breath.
During his 11 years inside the cage, Forest pulled out some of the greatest upsets, destroyed the greatest 205-pound legends, and saved the UFC thanks to his tremendous first bout against Stephan Bonnar.
But why did the legendary UFC Hall of Famer retire at the age of 34?
Please read on to get to know the story of Forrest Griffin’s rise and fall!
Forrest Griffin’s Background
In his early days of training MMA, Griffin worked as a Police Officer.
Griffin lost his first pro fight against the former UFC champ and master wrestler, Dan Severn.
Before his UFC career, Griffin took part in wars with high-level names like Chael Sonnen, Jeff Monson, Travis Fulton, and Jeremy Horn.
Interestingly, Griffin broke his arm in his last non-UFC fight against Edson Paredao and was unable to pay for the surgery because he didn’t have health insurance.
Luckily, the UFC was looking for fighters for a new show, and Griffin applied.
The Ultimate Fighter & Saving The UFC
Dana White and his business partners were having a hard time after purchasing the UFC.
The pay-per-views were restricted in some states, and then Dana made a deal with Spike TV, to host the UFC’s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
Forrest Grifin did well on the show and advanced to the finals where he would fight Stephan Bonnar.
The stakes were so high. The winner would get a six-figure UFC contract.
It was a match to remember, three rounds of bloody and battered war.
The judges gave a decision victory to Griffin, but the fight was so impressive that both Octagon warriors got UFC contracts.
After the first outing between Bonnar and Griffin, the UFC’s rise was unstoppable.
Griffin got a lot of public attention after winning TUF, but he had ups and downs in the early stages of his UFC run.
This includes losses to Tito Ortiz and Keith Jardine as well as victories over Elvis Sinosic and Hector Ramirez.
Many fans don’t remember his second bout against Stephan Bonnar.
Forrest Griffin significantly improved his skills and dominated for 15 minutes to a unanimous decision win.
But he quickly became a star after a massive upset victory over Pride FC star Mauricio Shogun Rua at UFC 76.
Rua was brought to the UFC as one of the greatest prospects, but after surviving an early onslaught, Griffin choked out the dangerous Brazilian in the third.
Griffin became the number one 205-pound title contender.
Dana White announced that Griffin would coach The Ultimate Fighter season 7 against the current champ, Rampage Jackson. And once the show was over, Griffin would finally get his title shot.
The two coaches met at UFC 86, and Rampage dropped Griffin in the first round with an uppercut.
After surviving a barrage of ground and pound strikes, Griffin damaged Rampage’s legs with stunning kicks in the second round.
The kicks to the thighs were too much for Rampage, and he was unable to defend them.
After five rounds, the ref raised Griffin’s arm.
Griffin won the Light Heavyweight belt with another upset victory!
It’s hard to win the strap, but it is even harder to defend it.
Rashad Evans was too strong for Forest Griffin at UFC 92. He lost the belt via third-round TKO.
The stakes were high at his next bout, as Griffin got the chance to get back into title contention.
Unfortunately, you can’t fight with your heart against Anderson Silva. The Brazilian Muay Thai counter specialist showcased an incredible fighting style.
Griffin was weathering the storm, but Silva’s head movement and anticipation skills were too much.
After missing a flurry of punches, Griffin ate a powerful counter-punch to the face. Anderson Silva won via first-round stoppage. Griffin’s title dream was over.
Not long after, Griffin outworked Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz, but Shogun Rua avenged his loss at UFC 134 via first-round KO.
Forrest Griffin’s Last Fight & Retirement
Forrest Griffin settled his rivalry with Tito Ortiz at UFC 148.
Both fighters entered the trilogy with a score of 1-1.
There were many controversies, as Ortiz dropped Griffin once and scored two takedowns.
Yet, judges gave a decision victory to Griffin, who exited the cage before the bout results were read, but later returned.
It ended up being his last fight.
Griffin was slated to rematch Chael Sonnen at UFC 155 but Sonnen pulled out of the bout.
The former division king was later set to meet Phil Davis, but an MCL tear and ACL strain forced him to pull out of the match.
The arm injury was also still giving Griffin a hard time.
Finally, at a UFC 160 post-event news presser, on May 26, 2013, Forrest Griffin retired because of chronic injuries.
He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2013.
Griffin is a man of his word – he has never unretired.
Where Is Forrest Griffin Now?
So what’s happening with Forrest Griffin today?
Well, Griffin is still part of the greatest MMA promotion in the world.
Forrest Griffin, the former UFC 205-division titleholder, is now the Vice President of Athlete Development at the UFC Performance Institute.
If you follow the UFC Embedded episodes regularly, you’ve probably seen Forrest Griffin coaching Octagon warriors at the UFC Performance Institute.
He’s also helping fighters who train to successfully cut weight.
He’s also happily married and the father of one kid.
His wife gave birth to his kid a few days before his UFC 134 rematch against Rua.
Fans should be grateful to the UFC and Dana White for letting Forrest Griffin remain part of the greatest promotion in the world after his Octagon career.
Now you know what happened to Forrest Griffin – legends live forever!