Forrest Griffin is a retired mixed martial artist and a UFC Hall of Famer.
Forrest Griffin, a former Georgia police officer, first rose to prominence after winning the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Since 2005, he has been signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Griffin went on to serve as a coach on the Ultimate Fighter 7 opposite Quinton Jackson. Griffin, Rashad Evans and Matt Serra are the only fighters to go from winning The Ultimate Fighter to winning a UFC championship.
Griffin graduated from Evans High School in Evans, Georgia, a suburb of Augusta. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Georgia. While attending school, Griffin served as a law enforcement officer for the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in Augusta, Georgia. He also served as a patrol officer with the University of Georgia police.
Before the Ultimate Fighter, Griffin fought the likes of Jeff Monson, Jeremy Horn, Chael Sonnen and early UFC veteran Dan Severn in his first pro fight. Griffin is also known for a fight with Edson Paradeo, in which Edson broke Griffin's left arm with what appeared to be a badly blocked roundhouse kick aimed at the body. Forrest continued on to win the fight by knockout with his right hand after escaping a deep armbar. As a result of the armbar and the badly-blocked body kick, he has a huge permanent lump on his left forearm.
At the time, Griffin was selected by the Ultimate Fighter, he had given up mixed martial arts and taken a job with the Augusta/Richmond County Sheriff's Department in Georgia, but was persuaded by Dana White to take part in the show.
On the show, he reached the finals where he defeated Stephan Bonnar by unanimous decision. The fight was credited by Dana White as the "most important fight in UFC history" and the fight that brought the UFC into the mainstream. For winning the competition Griffin was given a six-figure professional contract to fight with the UFC. The Stephan Bonnar fight was declared the #1 UFC fight of all time in the UFC Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights program.
In April, 2006, Griffin fought former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 59, in which he lost a controversial split decision.
At UFC 62, Griffin fought Stephan Bonnar in a rematch from their earlier fight. Griffin won by unanimous decision, sweeping all three rounds.
Griffin was defeated by Ultimate Fighter 2 semifinalist Keith Jardine at UFC 66 by TKO at 4:41 of the first round.
In June, 2007 Griffin defeated Hector Ramirez at UFC 72 in Belfast, Northern Ireland via unanimous decision.
At UFC 76, Griffin fought against PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Mauricio Rua. At the time, Shogun was ranked the number one light heavyweight fighter in the world by several MMA publications. Griffin won by rear naked choke at 4:45 of round three. Griffin required surgery after the fight due to a shoulder injury that was sustained before the bout. Griffin's shoulder has been a recurring problem since.
In July, 2008, Griffin fought the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Viewed as a heavy underdog by many going into the fight, Griffin faced Jackson in a hard fought battle that was named "Fight of the Night" by UFC president Dana White. Griffin won a unanimous decision victory and became the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Griffin's first title defense came at UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008, against undefeated challenger Rashad Evans. After Griffin controlled most of the first two rounds with effective striking, Evans caught one of Griffin's kicks and took him down, defeating Griffin by TKO in the third round. The loss was Griffin's third loss since entering the UFC. During the fight Griffin broke his hand, sidelining him for several months.
After recovering, Griffin signed on to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 101. During the bout, Griffin was knocked down three times in the first round by Silva. In the third round Silva knocked Griffin out. Both fighters were awarded $60,000 as Fight of the Night bonuses and Silva received an additional $60,000 in bonus money for Knockout of the Night.
Griffin accepted a rematch against Tito Ortiz at UFC 106. Griffin went on to win by split decision.
Griffin faced former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin in February, 2011 at UFC 126. Griffin won by unanimous decision.
A rematch with Maurício Rua took place in August, 2011 at UFC 134. Griffin lost the bout via KO in the first round.
Griffin faced Tito Ortiz for a third time in July, 2012 at UFC 148. He won the fight via a unanimous decision. The fight won Fight of the Night earning both Griffin and Ortiz a fight bonus.
On May 26, 2013, it was announced at the post-event news conference for UFC 160 that Griffin had retired from MMA fighting, citing chronic injuries as the reason for his decision. After the announcement of Griffin's retirement, Dana White announced that Griffin and Stephan Bonnar would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.