UFC 134: Rio - Forrest Griffin Laments His Plateau

Taking a punch in the face isn't as fun when your cat is happy and healthy at home. Photo courtesy of UFC.com

Forrest Griffin has a UFC 134 blog over at Yahoo! -- delightfully titled "Forrest Fire" -- where he talks Rich Franklin, Mauricio Rua, and still not having the whole training camp thing figured out after six years in the UFC. It's typical Forrest Griffin self-deprecating stuff, which the people seem to enjoy.

It's the last two paragraphs (and the throwaway final line) that caught my interest though:

It quit being fun when I realized I wasn't getting better. I'm plateauing or almost getting worse sometimes. One of the essential elements to have in this is your perceived expectation of the future, and I'm a painful realist, so I realized that I'm not going to get better; this is it. It's only gonna get worse from here on and you fight as much as you can, you fight until you don't have it anymore, and then you fight a couple more times after that.

Your cat's sick, you can't pay your rent, and for 15 or 25 minutes, however long, you're free of that. It's real hard for that to enter your mind when somebody's choking your face off. You're in that moment of getting your face choked. You ain't thinking about the bills, your mortgage or your boss. It's freedom from that. Well, now, the problem is that I've got a good life. I don't want freedom from my good life. I love my life. I've got an awesome wife, my cat's cool, he's pretty healthy, and life's pretty good.

Now I don't need a reprieve from life.

It's rare to see such honest introspection in fight sport, and especially so when it comes to one's hunger and drive in the waning years of a career. Where Quinton Jackson masks his dying flame with the job card, Forrest Griffin comes right out and expresses the realities of one's mindset when financial security is no longer the most pressing issue.

Forrest Griffin is 32 years old. October marks his tenth year fighting professionally. This is the time where fighters start the familiar refrain of "being in the best shape of my life" and "I'm always learning new things" and all sorts of mindless cliches that fill column inches for unimaginative media types. That's not Forrest's style, though.

Griffin has gained a reputation for a curmudgeonly attitude with non-preferred members of the media. He'll provide terse answers or expect you to take a kick to the leg for access or abruptly hang up when he loses appreciation for the questions coming at him. But that's a trade-off I'm willing to accept for the refreshing transparency we see above.

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