After Facing “The Incredible Hulk”, Chad Griggs Excited For Light-Heavyweight Debut Against Cyrille Diabate
Says Ground Game of UFC 154 Opponent “Questionable”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Chad Griggs may have made his presence felt in the Strikeforce heavyweight division, but after securing a roster spot with the UFC and facing the 6’7, Travis Browne, the “Grave Digger” decided it was time for a change. Unfortunately for Griggs, that change couldn’t involve moving to a non-existent cruiserweight division, so the 34 year-old vet began preparing for a run at 205 pounds.
“It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and knowing we needed to do” Griggs recently said on Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing his decision to drop down from heavyweight, after he was submitted by Browne this past April. “It was just a matter of when it was going to happen. You don’t want to change something until it doesn’t work.”
Griggs made his way to Strikeforce in August, 2010, and immediately made headlines by becoming the first man to defeat former pro wrestler Bobby Lashley. The Arizona fighter proceeded to record two more stoppage wins over Gian Villante and Valentijn Overeem, and as a result, was moved to the UFC when ZUFFA shut down Strikeforce’s heavyweight division.
“We were actually talking about it before the Bobby Lashley fight,” Griggs furthered. “So it was while ago, and then of course, we went the opposite direction and fought the Incredible Hulk instead…now going to the UFC to fight the best of the best, you know now is the time to go down to 205.”
“When you walk around at 227 to 230, and other guys are walking around 280 and cutting, it makes it tough to push them around,” Griggs added. “So, I think I’m going to do a lot better at 205 and be stronger. I’m looking forward to it. I feel good. I’m like a skinny guy now.”
While Griggs may have been “fighting the best of the best” as an undersized heavyweight, many observers would argue that the light-heavyweight division is much deeper in terms of talent.
“Absolutely, you’re right, you drop down weight and you might be stronger, but they’re going to be faster, they’re going to go longer; it’s all a give and take scenario,” Griggs stated. “Talking to the team, I think this is a better spot. If they had a 220 pound weight class that’s where I’d want to be, but since they don’t, I think I’m better suited for 205 rather than 265. I’ve never weighed that once in my life.”
“We’ve done a couple of trial cuts, so I think we’re dialed in to where I need to be walking around at and how much I need to cut the day before the weigh-ins, and the day of the weigh-ins,” Griggs added. “I feel good.”
“The Grave Digger’s” first test at 205 pounds will come in the form of Cyrille Diabate, who Griggs will fight at UFC 154 on November 17th.
“I knew a little about him, and I think it’s a real good fight for me,” Griggs said about the 6’6 tall fighter, who is coming off a majority decision win over Tom DeBlass in April. “He’s obviously a striker and real lanky, which, I think out of the four tallest guys in the UFC, this will be my second one.”
“Obviously I’m going to have to get inside his pocket, and I think it’s a real good fight for me,” Griggs added. “I think I’ll be able to move him around, and his ground game is a little questionable, but overall I think it’s a really good match-up. We’re both going to be trying to hit each other in the head.”