Exclusive Interview w/ UFC Fighter Tyson Griffin

MMANews.com's Chris Howie caught up with UFC Lightweight fighter Tyson Griffin to discuss his upcoming bout at UFC 72 against Clay Guida, among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript of the discussion.


Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I'm speaking with UFC lightweight Tyson Griffin. How's it going today man?

Tyson Griffin: It's going good man. You?

MMANews.com: It goes good man. How is training going for your upcoming fight with Clay Guida?

Tyson Griffin: Training is going great. Probably the best training camp I've had yet. I've been training harder and smarter than normal and with the best training partners I could ask for.

MMANews.com: Who are your training partners?

Tyson Griffin: I train at Xtreme Couture with Gray Maynard, Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Alex Schoenauer, John Alessio and the names go on.

MMANews.com: How do you feel you match up with Clay? What advantages and disadvantages do you see yourself having?

Tyson Griffin: I feel I have a better skill set than Clay. He's pretty good at everything, but I think I'm better. I think it makes for a great match up and display of MMA. His only advantage may be his cardio. He has shown that he can go and go in his fights and hopefully I'll be right there when he makes a mistake and I'll capitalize to end the fight.

MMANews.com: How is your cardio?

Tyson Griffin: My cardio will be better than the [Frank] Edgar fight.

MMANews.com: Are you ready for another war?

Tyson Griffin: I'm always ready for a war.

MMANews.com: With a win over Guida where do you go from there?

Tyson Griffin: Who knows… we'll see what the UFC has next for me. I love to compete and challenge myself so hopefully I'll be facing better and tougher competition each time.

MMANews.com: How do you plan to bounce back from your loss to Frankie Edgar?

Tyson Griffin: I bounced back a long time ago if you're talking about mentally and physically, and I plan on coming out with a win against Clay Guida.

MMANews.com: Your record has some wins over some of the best fighters at 155 lbs. How do you feel to shape up in the lightweight division?

Tyson Griffin: I feel I shape up well, I've proven I can beat the best and I will hopefully get the chance to face some more big names and put myself up there in the world rankings.

MMANews.com: Who are some fighters you would like to get in the Octagon with?

Tyson Griffin: I dont really care in particular. I like testing myself and improving my stock as a fighter. I'm not out for pay days. I love to compete and sure the money doesn't hurt, but I want to fight the top guys out there, whoever the UFC and fans think they may be.

MMANews.com: What are your opinions on the Zuffa purchase of Pride?

Tyson Griffin: As a fighter I think its great to have the top fighters in the world in one organization. From a fan standpoint it ruins a little bit of the competition between organizations and being able to enjoy the different styles of venues, but I can't wait to compete against some of those fighters.

MMANews.com: Would you compete in the Lightweight Grand Prix if it is to happen and if you are given a chance?

Tyson Griffin: Why not… I would love the opportunity to compete against some of the best in my weight class.

MMANews.com: Who do you think is the number one lightweight in the world right now?

Tyson Griffin: I dont think anyone is number one right now. I think there is a great list of the top ten, but with [Takanori] Gomi's recent loses it takes him out of that number one spot. Everybody else has beat one another when you look at it closely so it's hard to decide on just one fighter.

MMANews.com: With all the MMA events coming up this summer, which fights are you looking most forward to seeing?

Tyson Griffin: I would say Rampage [Jackson] vs. Dan Henderson for sure and I think that Randy Couture vs. Gabe Gonzoga has the potential to be the fight of the year due to the way their styles match up.

MMANews.com: Who are some of your favorite fighters to watch?

Tyson Griffin: Randy Couture, Quinton Jackson, BJ Penn and Takanori Gomi just to name a few.

MMANews.com: Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced?

Tyson Griffin: Frank Edgar.

MMANews.com: How long have you been training and what aspect of MMA did you start out with?

Tyson Griffin: I've been training for 3 1/2 years now and I started out as a wrestler.

MMANews.com: What made you get into MMA?

Tyson Griffin: It was something I was good at and it beat working construction. I kinda stumbled across it though. I had dropped out of Junior College and was just working full-time. The wrestlers from the J.C. always talked about Dave Terrell's school and after getting really overweight and not working out for a while I started attending a takedown class that was held there. After a few weeks of that I started training jiu-jitsu and then Dave asked me if I wanted to come train with him and the rest of the Cesar Gracie fight team. I said yes and after my first MMA training experience I was hooked.

MMANews.com: What fighters do you look up to?

Tyson Griffin: Randy Couture. Not only because of his age and class inside and out of the octagon, but because he is never satisfied with his game and position in the sport. He always wants to compete against bigger and better competition and always looks to learn the newest, most innovative techniques in each aspect of MMA.

MMANews.com: What do you do with your spare time when you're not training.

Tyson Griffin: I like the outdoors and camping so I try and go camping and fishing. There are lots of mountains and trails to drive just outside of Las Vegas so I have fun exploring the desert. I also have a love for food that goes beyond just eating, so I tend to cook a lot and try new things in the kitchen.

MMANews.com: How was life growing up? Who are your idols?

Tyson Griffin: Life was a little rough, my mom raised three boys on her own. She went to prison along with my dad when I was three so we lived with my grandma for a few years. She got out and we did what we could with what we had. My dad received life due to the three strikes law in Texas so he wasn't around. My mom turned her life around getting a degree from San Francisco State and things got better from there. She is definitely my idol. Seeing what she went through let me know that anything was possible if I put my mind to it. She went from minimum wage being a secretary to working for a major corporation and having a secretary of her own. I'm very proud to call her my mother!

MMANews.com: What kind of music do you listen to to get you in the zone for a fight?

Tyson Griffin: I listen to rap and hip-hop.

MMANews.com: What is your favorite movie?

Tyson Griffin: I can't really say, I enjoy watching movies, but don't really make it a habit to see the latest flicks. I like anything that will make me laugh.

MMANews.com: How about a favorite band or artist?

Tyson Griffin: Same story here. I dont even have a CD collection [laughs]. My ipod is full of songs from a friends computer.

MMANews.com: Who would you like to meet if you had the opportunity?

Tyson Griffin: Mike Tyson. I've always loved the way he fought and really like his story into the fight game.

MMANews.com: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

Tyson Griffin: Thanks for all the love and support!

MMANews.com: Any sponsor or people you would like to thank?

Tyson Griffin: I'd like to thank Kim and Randy Couture for everything they have done for me in and out of the gym. Thanks to my sponsors: Northbay Firearms, Desert Volkswagen, Affliction, Fairtex and Throwdown.

MMANews.com: Ok Tyson, I'd like to thank you for taking the time out to talk to me and hopefully we can do this again sometime.

Tyson Griffin: For sure, Thank you man.

Want to contact Chris Howie about the above interview? E-mail him at [email protected] or chat with him directly in the MMANews.com forum HERE.

Check out more exclusive MMANews.com fighter interviews in the archive section by CLICKING HERE.