Evans High School graduate Forrest Griffin shocked the world of mixed martial arts this past weekend in Las Vegas.
In front of a sellout crowd at The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Griffin battled through five grueling rounds to earn a unanimous decision over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
In the final seconds of this instant classic, the two were toe-to-toe, still throwing punches, to the delight of the huge crowd, both live and on pay-per-view.
Prior to the fight, most experts gave Griffin little chance to get past the second round, much less win the fight. Jackson had not lost in three years and was coming off wins over two of the best fighters in the world -- Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson.
However, Griffin used his signature grit and determination to not only survive Jackson's notorious punching power but also to rock the former champ several times. The big blow was a kick to the leg that took Jackson out of his aggressive style.
In fact, it was Griffin who was the aggressor throughout the five-round bout.
Despite taking several shots and getting bloodied up, Griffin got the better of Jackson, as evidenced by his unanimous decision.
Griffin, known for his relentless style, had his big heart on full display as he claimed the UFC's light heavyweight belt.
The two men had served as coaches on this season's Ultimate Fighter reality show on Spike TV, and they had a few heated moments during the show. Most came as Jackson guaranteed an easy win. Jackson's camp was so sure he would win that his trainer even promised to retire if Griffin took the title from Jackson.
In the post-fight press conference, Griffin was asked about comments from Jackson that he was not a "feared fighter" by others in the 205-pound weight class. To that, Griffin quickly responded with the matter-of-fact candor that has made him such a fan favorite: "I'm not. He's right. I mean, I am not this big submission guy that you have to worry about, and I don't have that big knockout power. But I will battle you for 25 minutes. I will never back down or let up. I will be in there, fighting, giving everything I have for all five rounds against anybody at 205," Griffin said.
Next up for Griffin? Well, it will likely be a rematch with Jackson.
Both fighters commented about another fight following this weekend's thriller. There is no doubt Griffin will be the underdog if the two men lock horns again. It is a role he has grown accustomed to.
Perhaps it is everyone not giving him a chance that fuels Griffin. Maybe he just loves to fight. Either way, Jackson better come ready to fight next time, or Griffin will shock the world yet again.
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