Former UFC Champ Forrest Griffin Retires

The UFC has lost another former champion to retirement. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title holder Forrest Griffin has announced his retirement. The inaugural TUF winner’s next stop will be the UFC Hall of Fame.

Griffin’s retirement was announced Sunday morning at the UFC 160 post-fight press conference. Griffin is following the advice of UFC president Dana White and calling it a career.

“It’s been a good 8 years I guess. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that when Dana White says retire you should retire, or else you’ll blow your knee out before your next fight,” Griffin said.

White noted that Griffin is not leaving the UFC. White told the media that Griffin would have a job for life with the UFC. White also mentioned that Griffin along with his rival Stephan Bonnar will be the next inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame.

“I saw the Brian Stann Wanderlei fight. And I thought if I don’t have another one of those in me, it’s time to retire. “This has been my dream since 2000, this has been all I want to do. So I don’t really know what’s next,” said Griffin.

I have mixed feelings on Griffin. I liked him early on in The Ultimate Fighter season and rooted for him initially. Sometimes you learn a little too much about someone on the Internet and what I learned about Forrest changed my opinion and maybe that’s unfortunate. Forrest has quite an extensive reputation for being quite difficult on reporters and the more I read, the more I disliked.

Forrest had an incredible run early on for someone coming off TUF putting back to back wins against Shogun Rua and Quinton Jackson. Forrest and Rashad Evans are the most successful TUF winners in show history. Forrest stunned the MMA world when he defeated a red hot Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight title. Unfortunately most of Forrest’s good luck in the octagon ended on that night.

Griffin lost the championship in his first title defense incidentally to Evans via TKO. Griffin was never the same after that. Starting with that fight Griffin amassed an unimpressive 3-3 record in his last six fights. Two of Griffin’s wins came against Tito Ortiz while one came against Rich Franklin. Griffin’s final night in the octagon will be remembered for an odd scene which saw him running out of the octagon and being chased back in by White.

As unimpressive as his record is I think his place in the Hall of Fame is well deserved. His TUF 1 final fight against Stephan Bonnar launched the explosion of the Zuffa-owned UFC. There aren’t many fighters that had as much impact on the success of the company as Griffin. Without that first Griffin-Bonnar fight it isn’t quite clear where the UFC would have gone after that first TUF season.

This isn’t good news for the UFC. The UFC has a lot of fighters under contract but only about a dozen or so that I’d call true superstars. Win or lose Forrest was a superstar. With retirement rumors constantly swirling about Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, and Georges St-Pierre, the UFC is going to have a rough time in a few years if they can’t get break some of their fighters through like Griffin.

I have seen some media refer to him as a legend. I’d hardly call him a legend but he certainly is one of the most important pioneers in UFC history.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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