Even when he was pounding an opponents face into mush, you couldn’t help but like the guy. Forrest Griffin, The Ultimate Fighter Season 1’s most memorable and beloved light heavywieght, has become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, despite only recently picking up three-fight contract. The former Athens, Ga., police officer kicked around with MF on the set of the show’s second season.
Q: You’re a witty guy. Why fight?
A: You know, I’ve always had a small penis, and I want to compensate for it. [Laughs.] Actually, the defense and tactics instructor at the police academy showed me a UFC video. I said, “This stuff’s cool.” So I started training for it, got beat up, and I decided I wanted to keep doing it.
Q: You always look like you’re having a great time-even when you’re in an all-out brawl. Is it really fun for you?
A: Yeah, that’s why I do this. A fight’s just not that big a deal. It’s not like being in battle; it’s not having cancer. It’s not dealing with crazy people at four in the morning like when I was a police officer.
Q: Do you ever get frightened in there?
A: Here’s my strategy: I think about the worst that can happen in a fight. Am I gonna die? Well, death happens in our sport, but it’s a rarity. And death is a journey-my bags are packed. I’m ready for that when it comes. I could also be embarrassed in front of lots of people, but that’s happened to me before-I never should have done that Internet porn. [Laughs.]
Q: So does anything rattle you?
A: I have a lot of performance anxiety. I want people to like me. I want to do well. I want people to feel like they got their money’s worth and were entertained.
Q: You’ve seen the field for this season’s Ultimate Fighter. What do you think?
A: I look at those guys and I know I’m not working that hard. A lot of them are better than me. Keith Jardine is a helluva boxer, and I’m sure he’ll end up fighting in the UFC as a light-heavyweight.
Q: There’s a softer side to you than most realize. Rumor has it you like Cary Grant movies and reading novels.
A: Yeah, I was raised by my mother, and she brought me up to be sensitive. That’s the way I fight-friendly. I don’t take any cheap shots, and if you beat me, I’ll be the first guy to congratulate you.
Q: Final question: Once and for all, do women weaken your fighting?
A: I don’t know what that’s about, man. I fuck every night before a weigh-in. That’s my secret cutting strategy.