Forrest Griffin Vs. Tito Ortiz 3: The Unnecessary Rubber Match
Following the entertaining rematch between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin, talk quickly turned toward a rubber match between the two marketable stars.
I'm sure that there are a ton of fans out there who want to see this trilogy completed, but I'm just not one of them.
To be fair, there are plenty of good things about this potential match. "The score" is currently tied at one win apiece, so a third match would open the door for a more decisive finish.
In addition to that, there has also been some talk about making Tito and Forrest the new coaches for TUF 11. Tito and Forrest both do well on television, so this would probably be good for ratings.
Furthermore, by putting these two fighters on a TUF season, the UFC doesn't need to hold a title belt hostage for an extended period of time like it has done in the past.
Despite the possible benefits, I remain fairly unexcited about the possibilities.
That's because I feel like I've already seen the third fight.
With some dynamic fighters, you get the sense that anything could happen. For example, Georges St. Pierre's three fights with Matt Hughes all had very different feels to them, as Georges had evolved as a fighter.
Another good reason for a rematch is when something crazy happens in the first match that warrants a redo. Examples of this include Matt Serra's shocking win over GSP, or Anthony Johnson's loss to Kevin Burns due to an eye-poke.
I don't get these kind of things with Tito and Forrest.
Although it would be unfair to criticize them both as not being dynamic, I feel that at the present time we've gotten a pretty good idea about what to expect from Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz.
Tito might be able to make some small adjustments in his standup, but he simply isn't going to be able to handle Forrest on the feet, while Forrest is probably still going to spend some time on his back, unless Tito comes in even less healthy than before.
The resulting fight thus becomes fairly predictable. The fight will probably be very close, and the only real variable is in how many takedowns Tito can manage before he gasses.
The question then becomes one concerning Tito's health and fitness. If he does come to the fight in better shape, he'll probably get another takedown, and then the fight will be close, and the whole rubber match won't have resolved anything.
If, on the other hand, Tito isn't in any better shape, then the only thing that the fight will prove is that Tito is no longer able to compete physically over three rounds.
Either way, don't expect Tito to show his hand prior to the fight. Expect him to sell the fight and tell the media that he's finally in the best shape of his life, and that he's ready to show the world that he wants his belt back.
At this point in time, I simply cannot believe that Tito is ever going to get better physically, so it's time to stop of putting him in rematches that he says he could have won if he was healthy.
Instead, let's just put him in some matches where fewer aspects of the fight are completely predictable.
Another thing to consider is that this third fight is essentially irrelevant in relation to the light-heavyweight title picture. We've already got one fairly irrelevant matchup between Couture and Coleman, so right now, I don't think we need another.
Neither Forrest nor Tito currently deserves a title shot, and a win here won't bring anybody much closer.
Making this fight could actually be seen as an admission that Forrest's and Tito's title contention days are over.
Even if we were to admit that neither fighter is close to another title shot, however, there are still more interesting ways in which these fighters could be used.
That being said, let me offer my take on the future of both fighters.
There are a lot of fights waiting ahead of Forrest Griffin, but unfortunately, very few of them can happen right away.
Rematches with Quinton Jackson, Mauricio Rua, and Rashad Evans are all interesting possibilities for the future, but all of these fighters are currently unavailable.
However, a possible immediate opponent could emerge from the Evans vs. Thiago Silva fight.
A fight with Brandon Vera would be an interesting one, while a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would give Forrest the opportunity to move closer to title contention. Either one of these fights is at least less predictable than a third encounter with Tito.
Perhaps the most marketable matchup for Forrest is against Chuck Liddell, who is inevitably going to be returning now that he's finished his run on Dancing With The Stars.
This matchup won't bring Forrest much closer to the title, and is actually a very dangerous one, but at least it brings a new look, and some excitement.
At this point, we can simply no longer believe Tito when he says that he's finally healthy, so instead of believing him, I'd rather just see him in some new fights.
Tito would provide a good challenge for up-and-coming fighters who could use a win over a recognizable opponent.
The winner of the fight between Jon Jones and Matt Hamill seems like a good fight to build either fighter. Ryan Bader also seems like an attractive option.
Tito might have a hard time with some of the other contenders within the division, but once again, at least he could provide a new challenge and a new look for guys like Luiz Cane, Nogueira, Rich Franklin, Keith Jardine, and others.
I'm not saying that Tito and Forrest should never fight each other again. There are people out there that want to see this fight, but let's let Tito have another fight to prove that he really still can fight for 15 minutes. If he wins, then maybe let him fight Forrest again.
If they fight right now, it will probably mean that the winner won't have fought anybody relevant to the title picture in over a year.
The fight will end up being like Hughes vs. Serra at UFC 98: a fight that settled nothing, and left both fighters without any clear direction in a fast paced and highly competitive weight class.
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