Jordan Griffin achieved his goal of making it to the biggest stage in MMA. Now that he’s fighting under the UFC banner, the objective is to stay there.
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Griffin came up short in his UFC debut, losing 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards in his bout with Dan Ige. Since then, “The Native Psycho” has had six months to get back to the drawing board and prepare for his second shot at tasting victory in the Octagon.
Griffin was originally slated to face UFC veteran Chas Skelly, but injury forced Skelly to pull out. Team Alpha Male prospect Vince Murdock stepped in on 12 days notice to face Griffin at UFC Minneapolis on June 29. Before fight night, Griffin sat down with John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock to discuss his fight with Ige, improvements to his game in his time away and continuing his winning ways in Minnesota.
Jordan Griffin joins the UFC
Griffin made his first UFC appearance in front of a home crowd in Milwaukee, his first fight in his home state of Wisconsin since a 2014 submission win at North American Fighting Championship Summer Slam.
“It was a new experience because I had been on the road for so long,” Griffin said.
Despite the home-field advantage, Griffin felt that “there was just something that was off” when he battled Ige. That feeling can be partially attributed to an arm injury he sustained in the first round of the fight. He tore multiple muscles which drastically hindered his ability to throw punches with his right hand.
When the final scorecards were read, Griffin left disappointed, but he had plenty of positives to take away from the performance. He delivered a close fight that the fans enjoyed, and, more importantly, he experienced the process of being a UFC fighter, the biggest leap he has taken in his career.
“When you’re an amateur, you’re learning to fight, you’re learning the ropes. You go pro, it’s kind of the same thing, but everybody’s just a little bit more fit, it’s more serious, the records matter,” Griffin explained. “Then when you go to the next level, you go to the UFC, then it’s like, man, everybody’s fit, everybody’s experienced, everybody has everything.”
Griffin earned a sense of comfort after going through the process once. Now that he knows what to expect, his sights are set on picking up victories and eventually meeting up with his Hawaiian adversary once again.
“I’d like to pump out these two wins, get finishes off — violent finishes off,” Griffin said. “If UFC goes to Hawaii, I’d like to take Dan Ige back to Hawaii.”
Utilizing time off
Griffin’s arm injury limited him in training during his 2.5 month recovery. Once he was able to get back in the swing, he cleaned up his striking a bit, but focused majorly on jiu-jitsu.
Griffin was able to cut down his hours at his day job and “buckle down on training” at Roufusport. He also got the opportunity to work under Daniel Wanderley in the gym, which only adds to his jiu-jitsu regiment.
“I’m very fortunate I was able to get a job assisting under him,” Griffin said. “Now I’m in class almost three times a day pretty much right now, so I teach two and then I get to learn.”
Griffin’s Tuesdays and Thursdays in particular consist nearly entirely of jiu-jitsu. The dedication is paying off for him already, indicated by the stripe he earned on his purple belt.
“The Native Psycho” has taken note of how effective an elite jiu-jitsu game can be even at the highest level in MMA. By continuing to polish his own, he feels it will benefit him more than trying to become a jack of all trades.
“I don’t think there’s enough wrestling or enough lifting I could do that’s ever going to make me a legit or strong wrestler,” Griffin said, “but I think I can always improve my jiu-jitsu, and that’s going to give a lot of people problems. So if I can just work on my strength and conditioning, which I have been, and work on my jiu-jitsu, I’ll be good.”
Jordan Griffin returns to Minnesota
Griffin will get a chance to see how much he’s improved when he steps into the cage at UFC Minneapolis. While Minnesota isn’t quite home for Griffin, he has fared well there in the past.
“Nothing but good things have happened to me in Minnesota, and I have the same feeling going into UFC Minneapolis,” Griffin said.
In his professional career, “The Native Psycho” is 5-1 when competing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. His two wins in Legacy Fighting Alliance that earned him a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series both played out in Prior Lakes, Minnesota. He also met his manager after earning his third pro win in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Griffin returns knowing in the back of his mind that he needs wins to keep his dream of being a UFC fighter alive.
“I want to come out there and I want to finish,” Griffin said. “I don’t like easing into the fights where I’m sitting there and I’m pitter-pattering.”
This upcoming fight against UFC newcomer Murdock will be Griffin’s second on his four-fight deal earned on Season Two of Contender Series. The UFC habitually rewards those who put on a show, which Griffin and Ige did in Griffin’s debut. Doing so again will be Griffin’s top priority in this upcoming fight.
“I need to start throwing right away and I need show them that I want to be there,” Griffin said. “I want to stay in the UFC. It took me 10 years to make it to the UFC. I want to stay in the UFC and I need to go out there, I need to knock him out, like bad.”
Shane Connelly is a journalism student at Penn State with a passion for sharing the stories of MMA fighters.