by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Teammates fighting each other has become a hot button subject with UFC president Dana White lately. With so many great camps providing a home to so many great fighters, the subject is bound to come up when two teammates are in the same weight class and appear headed for a showdown.
That seemed to be the case when the match-up was announced pitting Tyson Griffin against Evan Dunham at UFC 115. The two fighters train together at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
Griffin, who is rebounding from a slight rib injury that sidelined him for a fight in January, says that while he considers Duhnam a great training partner, slipping the word teammate in there is overstating things a bit.
“It was definitely something that got blown a little out of proportion. Evan’s definitely trained here for a couple fights, and has basically moved to Las Vegas and is trying to make his home over there, but at the same time there’s a difference between close teammates and just training partners,” Griffin told MMAWeekly Radio. “I feel Evan was just a training partner at the time, and still is, and maybe one day I’ll consider him a close teammate, but as far as now I don’t consider him like that.”
The close knit group of guys that have been at the core of Xtreme Couture since day one include Griffin along with fighters like Gray Maynard and Mike Pyle, and he says that it’s nothing against Dunham, but this is business, not personal.
“Nothing personal or anything, but I’ve never hung out with the guy outside the gym, never drank a beer with him, never talked strategy with him,” Griffin commented. “Just sparred with him like I spar with anybody else that’s came in and out of the camp.”
The difference between Dunham and someone like Gray Maynard is where Griffin draws the line between teammate and training partner.
“I consider Gray family and a different scenario for sure,” said Griffin.
Before the fight was ever signed, Dunham called Griffin and explained that he was offered the bout, saying that he would train elsewhere for his camp, but hoped to come back to Xtreme Couture after the fight was finished.
Griffin explains that working with Dunham in the past was beneficial, but nothing as far as strategy or revealing a weakness worries him as the two draw closer to their fight in Vancouver.
“At the end of the day I think I would have picked up just as much watching his tapes as I would have sparring with him, but at the same time it’s nice to be able to feel somebody’s power, strength, size, and actually feel it out before you get in there,” Griffin said.
“It doesn’t really change anything.”
What Griffin does know about Dunham from their time training together is that the young undefeated prospect brings a mixed bag of tricks with him into the Octagon, and that always makes for a dangerous opponent.
“I think (Dunham) is probably one of the most well rounded fighters that I’m going to be fighting to date,” Griffin stated. “Other guys have had like super good areas, I guess stronger areas than others, whereas Evan is completely well rounded. It’s going to be a great test for me, and for him as well.”
The two former training partners will mix it up in the cage this weekend at UFC 115 in Vancouver, and their fight will be a part of the preliminary card showing on Spike TV starting at 9pm EST.