Photo: Josh Grispi, Credit: Sherdog.com
The idea of a 23 year-old athlete making a comeback in their career is bizarre to say the least, but Josh "The Fluke" Grispi is looking to do just that this Saturday.
Recently, Carlos Condit and Renan Barao have received quite a bit of criticism for wanting to wait for their championship opportunities. If they are looking to justify their decisions then they should look no further than Josh Grispi.
In late 2010 Josh Grispi was riding a stellar ten fight win streak in which he had finished nine of his opponents in the first round. He was lined up for a title shot against featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo Jr. Unfortunately for Grispi, Aldo was injured before their engagement, and his championship dreams were put on hold.
Instead of waiting for Aldo to return to the Octagon, Grispi decided to take another fight. His replacement opponent was unassuming Dustin Poirier, a fighter who was batting .500 in the WEC.
Going into the bout, "The Fluke" was a heavy favorite. For Grispi, It looked like a safe fight, a guaranteed paycheck.
What's the worst that could happen?
Josh Grispi found out the answer. The "worst" happened.
For fifteen straight minutes, Grispi was thrashed and dominated by Dustin Poirier. Instead of using Poirier as a highlight reel finish, Grispi was used as a platform. His excellent ground game was nonexistent. His striking was ineffective. His title shot was gone.
MMA is an inconsistent sport. Any fighter can be on the receiving end of a knockout on any given day. Upsets happen. That's why a fighter like Fedor Emelianenko is heralded for consistent dominance, and that is also why Josh Grispi was given the benefit of the doubt after the loss. It was one bad night.
Josh Grispi's next fight would be against George Roop. On the surface it appeared as though Grispi was given an easy opponent because he risked title shot. Roop had only won one of his last four bouts.
Despite the fact that he was coming off a terrible loss, the odds were even longer in Grispi's favor against Roop then in his previous fight versus Poirier. Against Roop, Grispi could prove that his loss to Poirier was merely a fluke.
After the dust settled , Josh Grispi was down on the canvas with a sharp pain in his mid-section. George Roop finished him in the third period with powerful body shot. The only "fluke" was Josh Grispi.
It has been over a year since the loss to George Roop, which was also Grispi's last MMA fight, and now Grispi is looking to change the trajectory of his career after recharging his batteries. In order to do that, he is going to have to have to beat grappling expert Rani Yahya this Saturday at UFC on FOX 4.
Yahya last saw action a year ago against Chad Mendes. He would be a difficult challenge for most featherweights, including Josh Grispi.
In order to beat Yahya, Grispi will have to use his reach advantage to expose the deficiencies in Yahya's stand-up game while evading his opponent's attempts to make the fight a grappling match.
A lot hangs in the balance for Josh Grispi with this fight. With a victory, he is back on the featherweight map. With a loss, he will probably find his name on a pink slip.
After a brilliant start to his career, Grispi has faced serious adversity, and now what happens next will define his career and the irony of his nickname.