September 20, 2007

by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Three-fight UFC veteran Tyson Griffin steps into the cage again Saturday night at UFC 76, this time against Jiu-Jitsu wizard Thiago Tavares. Griffin will bring the experience of his 9-1 professional record with him to the Octagon Saturday and will look to fight a fast-paced, entertaining fight for the fans.

Tyson Griffin spoke to MMAWeekly Radio recently about his upcoming UFC fight and his undefeated Brazilian opponent.

Griffin said of his opponent, “He [Tavares] definitely has some skills and he’s definitely a talented fighter, but I’m not overly worried or overly impressed with any aspect [of his skills].” Griffin continued, “The only real motivating thing is that the guy’s undefeated so it will be nice to put a mark on his record.”

Certainly don’t expect Griffin’s opponent to be a walk-through, though. Tavares has two Octagon wins to his credit and Saturday night he will be looking to add another mark to his currently unblemished 13-0 win column.

Tyson Griffin comes into this match with 10 professional MMA fights, seven of which he ended in the confines of Round 1, and eight of which he finished via KO, TKO or submission. Griffin’s only professional loss in his MMA career came via decision to Frank Edgar this past February at UFC 67.

In the months since his loss to Edgar, Griffin captured a hard-fought victory over the extremely tough and experienced Chicagoan, Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida at UFC 72. Griffin and Guida fought an extremely close and entertaining fight for the Irish fans and eventually captured “Fight Of The Night” honors in many fans’ minds. Griffin is looking to continue his winning streak Saturday and will be looking to do so in impressive and devastating fashion.

Tyson said, “I always try to fight like I fight. I just kind of go at it right away from bell to bell. My last couple of fights have definitely been fight of the night, so if this one goes the distance, expect it to steal the show … but I don’t plan on it going that far.”

A lot of Griffin’s in-cage confidence indubitably comes from the fact that he has a 9-1 professional record and three UFC fights under his belt, but a supplemental confidence boost no doubt comes from the fact that he has been training with top athletes and world champions at Xtreme Couture, one of the premier MMA gyms in the country.

Griffin said, “I’ve been out here [at Xtreme Couture] for a year. I’ve been training with this group of guys for a long time and it’s great. Top talent … there’s no easy rounds, no easy work, so no matter what you do, every day you get better and you’re learning something.”

Tyson continued, “We’re all pushing each other in the gym, you know. It’s not like guys are just coming in the gym to help you get ready, everyone’s getting ready for their individual fights so you push for each other … you push for them, they push for you. It’s not like everyone’s just focused on one fighter.”

When asked if he’s ready for a title shot, Griffin said, “That’s always the ultimate goal, but right now I’m taking it fight by fight. I’m definitely not thinking about the title … I don’t even think I’m in title contention, just because I haven’t fought anybody that’s out there in the top ten yet.”

Griffin vs. Tavares may not be a fight between two #1 lightweight contenders, but it certainly will serve as a pivotal contest in each man’s career. For either man to have the opportunity to fight a well-known name anytime soon, one of these men will need to pull off a noteworthy victory Saturday night.

Griffin believes that man will be him.

“I think you can expect him trying to take it to the ground and me standing up and staying on top … and if it does go to the ground, just [expect] me to finish him early with some ground and pound,” Griffin said.