If you poll 100 mixed martial arts fans, odds are that the majority will name the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar fight from April 9, 2005 as the best fight in UFC history. Those that claim that it does not deserve that distinction would be hard pressed to argue that it’s, at the very least, the most important fight in UFC history.
UFC president Dana White was recently asked about just how important the fight, the finale from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, was to the success of the promotion. White replied, according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, “I'd be picking up cigarette butts in palace station parking lot.” While I’m not so sure about that, one cannot understate the importance of this fight to the UFC.
After the bout, the UFC would surge to new heights, while the careers of the two fighters would have their ups and down.
Griffin would go on to defeat Quinton Jackson for the light heavyweight title, but would lose that belt in his first attempted defense, leaving the sport with a record of 19-7 after defeating Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision at UFC 148.
Bonnar would post a career record of 15-8, but would exit the sport with two positive tests for steroids to his name, once after losing to Griffin in a rematch and another after losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 153.
The TUF finale fight between these two has made sure that whenever the name Forrest Griffin or Stephan Bonnar is uttered that they will almost always be referred to as a single entity. Like it or not, they will forever be linked. It’s fitting that they enter the UFC Hall of Fame together.
Griffin and Bonnar will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this weekend as part of the UFC Fan Expo.