5 Fights for Forrest Griffin to Take Upon His Return
Griffin was forced to undergo surgery and looks to return sometime later in 2013.
Although Griffin is a former champion and without a doubt one of the most well-known names in the MMA world, it's clear that he isn't a top contender anymore. His fight with Tito Ortiz made both men look slow and perhaps Griffin should've joined Ortiz in the retirement party.
Still, Griffin sports a nice 3-1 record in his last four outings and is among the upper half of the light heavyweight division. That should leave the door open for some options in his return bout.
It will of course ultimately be up to Griffin and his camp as to how they want to proceed but there are a handful of competitive fights and big money opportunities available for the former UFC champion.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
This matchup is dependent upon Antonio Rogerio Nogueira getting past Mauricio Rua in his next bout.
Although, the potential win for Nogueira would make it three in a row, I don't believe he'll be considered a true title contender.
Facing Forrest Griffin gives the Brazilian a veteran opponent with a big name. The match up is fair given that both men are clearly in the latter portions of their career and facing some of the top light heavyweights could prove disastrous for both men.
Given the history made by Nogueira and Griffin, there should be some intrigue into these two facing one another. Nogueira has always been touted for his boxing skills along with his BJJ black belt while Griffin's grappling is solid as well.
Jimi Manuwa is one of England's top prospects and has looked the part since entering the UFC.
He completely manhandled Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut and was awarded the victory after Cyrille Diabate injured himself in their February contest.
A potential showdown with Griffin makes a lot of sense for the UFC.
It's clear the promotion wants to increase it's profits overseas and while England may have been forgotten a bit in favor of Brazil and Canada, Manuwa could provide the company with another marketable fighter.
His record stands at 13-0 with all of his fights ending before the final bell.
A Manuwa-Griffin matchup could be a nice co-main event or main event bout on a live TV card in England.
For Griffin the fight represents a true test to his place among the better half of the light heavyweight division. Manuwa is an impressive prospect but is still new to the MMA world, something Griffin would no doubt look to take advantage of.
And just imagine how many times Mike Goldberg would love to say the line, "to be a legend you have to beat one," if Manuwa and Griffin were paired up?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Forrest Griffin's second option at UFC 155 was scheduled to be Phil Davis.
It seemed like an odd pairing given the fact Davis was only a fight away from securing a title shot in 2012—but if the UFC had no problem with it at UFC 155—I don't see them having an issue if Davis gets past Vinny Magalhaes.
Unless Davis completely destroys Magalhaes, he'll still be on the outside looking in to be considered a title contender. By pairing him up with Griffin, Davis will have the chance to finally set himself apart from the pack.
The hardcore MMA fans know what kind of talent Davis could turn out to be given his wrestling background and his striking development at The Alliance Center but he'll need a high profile victory to win over the casuals.
A matchup with the popular and well-known Griffin provides that opportunity for the former Penn State wrestling champion.
It also provides Griffin with the chance to prove he's still got it by effectively derailing the hype train of Davis.
James Te Huna
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
James Te-Huna could turn into a dark horse title contender in 2013 if he keeps up his winning ways.
He's won four-straight bouts and continues to show new wrinkles in his game. We all knew Te-Huna could bang but he displayed some grappling talents by defeating top Canadian prospect Ryan Jimmo.
Te-Huna isn't a name many fans are talking about but that could all change if matched up with Griffin. Just think of the fireworks that would be on display from Griffin and Te-Huna going punch for punch in the Octagon.
The fight provides a win-win situation in terms of match up for Griffin.
He can utilize his grappling edge against Te-Huna to avoid taking the big punches on the feet or can engage him on the feet to provide an entertaining slug fest.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Forrest Griffin and Chael Sonnen were originally scheduled to meet one another at UFC 155 but Sonnen exited the bout after taking the coaching gig against Jon Jones.
Now Sonnen has the chance to take the title from Jones in April of this year and of course if Sonnen wins the title, don't expect Griffin's name to come up in any talks of a future opponent.
But given the fact that nearly everyone is doubting Sonnen's chances taking out Jones, I think it makes sense to have these two match up as originally planned.
The two men have already faced one another and the hype leading up to their bout should generate some interest in the card.
The fight itself would also be a good stylistic match up as Sonnen's dominant wrestling would go up against Griffin and his underrated jiu-jitsu game.