Former UFC lightweight contender Tyson Griffin (15-5) is slowly climbing the ranks of the UFC featherweight division.
After taking a unanimous decision victory over former No. 1 contender Manny Gamburyan, Griffin looks to welcome former WEC fighter Bart Palaszewski to the 145-pound class at UFC 137 in Las Vegas.
The Xtreme Couture pupil relishes the challenge of facing a striker like Palaszewski, but believes that in many of his opponent’s past fights that his defensive wrestling was his undoing and, come Saturday night, Griffin plans on showing how he’s more unpredictable.
“I’ve always felt comfortable going into every fight,” Griffin told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I go into fights feeling like I can out-strike anybody, I can out-scramble anybody, I can out-grapple anybody, and I feel like my conditioning is always the best going into fights. I don’t think it gives me any less comfort or more comfort to know he’s got a little bit of a weakness in wrestling.”
Initially being a wrestler, Griffin has fallen in love with boxing and kickboxing. The 27-year-old’s love for striking was put on full display back in 2009 when he became the first fighter in the UFC to TKO former lightweight contender Hermes Franca.
After suffering a few setbacks at lightweight, Griffin has realized that you can’t just rely on love alone, and that you have to be a very strategic fighter and pick apart the weaknesses of your opponent. The Las Vegas resident believes his path to success remains in being a more versatile fighter.
“I love the striking game, I like kicking, I like punching; I like it all. I think every one of my fights I’ve thrown at least one low kick. At the same time you’ve got to be a smart fighter and this is mixed martial arts. You’ve got to pick your opponents apart and being where you think they’re the weakest and where you have the greatest advantage.
“I’ve been doing a lot of jiu-jitsu training at Robert Drysdale’s (gym), who is one of the best grappling coaches I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
“Being open to learning new things and being versatile, just like the name of the game is mixed martial arts, you have to really mix it up and learn the best from each martial art.”
He’ll get the chance to show what he’s learned on Saturday night when he steps in the Octagon with Palaszewski at UFC 137.