We sat down with Max “Pain” Griffin as he discusses his UFC on FOX 28 opponent Mike Perry, and sheds light on his litany of title fights before stepping foot in the octagon.
Nothing but toughness
Max Griffin has been a peculiar figure at 170 lbs since making his debut in 2009. After a few years fighting all over the California circuit, Griffin amassed a 12-2 record with five first-round finishes. On top of that, his pedigree as a five-round specialist was started at a very early point in his career. Since his seventh pro bout, Griffin has been fighting for championships at two different weight classes.
At 5-1, Griffin captured the WCFC Welterweight Championship and didn’t stop competing for gold all the way up until his UFC debut. In his last fight for West Coast Fighting Championship, Griffin put all the pieces together to land himself a highlight reel knockout that almost guaranteed him a phone call from UFC brass.
A few months after the Mitchell KO, Griffin had 31 days to prepare for an upcoming contender in Covington who is now ranked in the top five in the division. Even though he was used to high stakes and big moments, the overwhelming force of his debut came to a head as he took on Colby Covington at UFC 202. Griffin mentioned that the celebrity status looming over the card was a lot to take in for his first go.
“For the Colby fight, that was more of a mental thing. I felt like I was fine, I felt like I coulda beat him, but it all felt like a dream you know? I always wanted to be in the UFC. But to really be there, signing posters with ‘Rumble’ Johnson, Conor’s walkin’ around, Nate has his goons. It was surreal man.”
Fast and effective
With all the added stress going into fight night, it still wasn’t an excuse for anything that took place that night. Griffin conceded that Colby offered a little something different that made him stutter in their contest, but the first round sequence was heavily in favor of Griffin as he landed quick strikes that staggered Colby as he engaged. When he had energy, Griffin was even able to maneuver out from under Covington’s top pressure, but it was the control over three rounds that did him in.
In his next outing, he did well to improve on the glimpses of power that he showed in his first fight with an impressive first-round TKO of Erick Montaño. It’s that same patented right cross that got him the finish against his opponent. It’s not necessarily the technique, but the timing, speed, and precision on the counter-attack as Griffin takes his head off the center line and drills in his right hand that has had success against all three of his opponents, win or loss.
His latest fight against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos was even more affirming of his potential in defeat than his last fight as a win due to the way both fighters left it all in the cage over the course of three rounds. Griffin vs. dos Santos won “Fight of the Night” honors in a heated back-and-forth in Brazil. Max Griffin has been fighting the kind of fights that most fans want to see, and that’s why his latest match against Mike Perry next month is all the more enticing to watch.
“Ready for a war”
In less than a month, Max Griffin will make his way to Mike Perry’s hometown of Orlando where he will once again look to outstrike an opponent that prefers to stand. Mike Perry’s brash personality has made fighters think twice before stepping into the cage with him, but Griffin remains unfazed by the trash talk and has his mind solely focused on combat.
“I feel like it’s a dream come true to fight Mike, I’ve wanted it to happen and I didn’t think it’d happen so soon. To me, he’s one of the more popular at welterweight. He has a big following, everyone hates him! (laughs) And it’s good for me to be attached to that.”
As we get closer to fight week at UFC on FOX 28, this hitman vs. brawler matchup will surely be one of the big takeaways of the night. Mike Perry is a consummate professional that has bounced back better from every loss he has endured. Max Griffin is looking to build off of his latest “Fight of the Night” performance and show fans that he can put on a show and secure the victory.