After a strong start in his first three years in the UFC, Tyson Griffin struggled in his last two years with the promotion, losing four of five fights, leading to his release from the company in 2011.
Griffin returned to fighting in November with a unanimous decision win over Efrain Escudero at RFA 4 with a renewed enthusiasm for fighting after some soul searching during his time off.
“I took a little time off after I got cut from the UFC and took a step back and decided what I really wanted to do and where I really want to take things,” said Griffin. “I decided that I just want to have fun again with fighting.”
When asked if he considered stepping away from the sport during his layoff, Griffin responded, “I don’t think I ever really thought about not fighting, I just wasn’t sure if it was really what I wanted to do because it wasn’t fun.
“I got back to training and having fun again in the gym. You have fun in the gym, the more you want to be there, and if you’re in the gym enough, you might as well put it together and compete. I’m trying to make another run at it and take it as far as I can.”
Getting a fresh start is not only an outlook for Griffin, it’s a reality as he joins the World Series of Fighting for his promotional debut on Aug. 10 in Ontario, Calif., against veteran Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante in a feature bout on the NBC Sports Network broadcast.
“It’s awesome as far as exposure,” said Griffin. “It’s great to get my name back out there and a get a chance to climb the ranks against a guy like JZ.
“I’m happy that WSOF wants me to fight for them and I hope to see me grow with them and the NBC Sports Network. I think it’s going to be an exciting next couple years and I’m curious to see how it goes.”
When it comes to facing Cavalcante, Griffin wants to go back to what made him successful early on his career.
“JZ’s a well-rounded guy and has been around a while, so I think I’ve got to do what I did back in the olden days and just push the pace, mix it up and use my conditioning to outwork him,” said Griffin.
“I’m focusing and preparing for a three-round war. We’ll see if he gets tired and breaks down. I’m not looking for anything. I’m just expecting myself to work hard and fight three rounds.”
Now that he’s back, slowing down isn’t an option for Griffin as he moves forward with his career.
“I just want to win, win, win,” he said. “I want to fight big names and win.
“I want to do what I always did, compete against the best. The WSOF is giving me a good name with JZ, and hopefully I’ll get another good name after this fight. I just want to challenge myself to compete against the best again.”