Chad Griggs on UFC 145 Bout With Travis Browne: “One Of Us Is Going To Be Bleeding”
By Kelsey Mowatt
In a year which saw Strikeforce’s heavyweight division garner plenty of attention, from the promotion’s Grand Prix tournament to Zuffa’s decision to remove the division, another of 2011’s interesting storylines was the emergence of Chad Griggs. After becoming the first man to defeat Bobby Lashley in April, Griggs went on to score wins over Gian Villante and Valentijn Overeem to position himself squarely on the sport’s radar map. As a result, not only did Zuffa see it fit to bring Griggs over to the UFC, but the promotion has matched him up against one of its fastest rising heavyweights, the undefeated Travis Browne.
“Yeah absolutely,” said “The Grave Digger”, when asked if he saw it as a sign of respect from the UFC that he should face the rising Browne. “It’s exciting, and it’s exciting to get a little credit. To get a little acknowledgement, yeah, I think the Strikeforce guys are doing pretty good so far since they came over and we’re going to try to keep that ball rolling.”
“It’s an honor to fight him,” Griggs added. “He’s an up-and-coming star; he’s a big boy and he’s undefeated. If we can stop his train and keep ours going it will be great for us.”
Despite the fact that Griggs (11-1) went 3-0 in Strikeforce to extend his winning streak to six, the Arizona fighter understands and embraces the fact that he’ll be the underdog when he meets Browne at UFC 145 on April 21st.
“Oh, absolutely,” the 33 year-old heavyweight told FCF. “I perform better I think when I’m the underdog. It doesn’t bother me at all and I expect to be a pretty big underdog in this fight. Going into the UFC, I know there are a lot of mainstream people that aren’t very familiar with me, so that’s going to play a factor as well. But hey, once they close the cage it doesn’t matter who’s ranked and who is where. We’re each trying to hit the other guy in the head.”
The hype surrounding Browne (12-0-1) has been for good reason. Since the massive 6’7 fighter entered the UFC in 2010, Browne battled Cheick Kongo to a draw at UFC 120, and has scored stoppage wins over James McSweeney, Stefan Struve and most recently Rob Broughton.
“He’s got a lot of hype, success, and he’s ranked in the top fifteen which is what I was looking for,” the 6’3 Griggs said. “There’s no question that he’s going to have a reach on me so obviously in training we’ve been working a lot on that and breaking it down. Obviously I can’t just stay in front of him and get picked apart. I’ll have to get in the pocket or stay out wide.”
While anything’s possible in a MMA bout, both Griggs and Browne possess the skills and mindset to give fans a memorable striking war on April 21st.
“There’s no question that my fighting technique has always been the aggressor and to be aggressive,” Griggs noted. “To take a few chances here and there, make the fight exciting and try to end it sooner than later. I’m not a conservative fighter and I don’t like to try to win by decision. I’ve never been to decision and I never want to be.”
“He’s had some fights where he’s really aggressive, really heavy hands, and others where he’s not been as aggressive,” Griggs added. “We’re going to focus on keeping it a fight…I promise, one of us is going to be bleeding.”
UFC 145 will be hosted by Atlanta’s Philips Arena and will feature a light-heavyweight bout between champion Jon Jones and challenger Rashad Evans in the main event.