July 07, 2008

Forrest Griffin may have stepped into UFC 86 as an underdog to defending champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on Saturday night, but he left with his opponent's respect and the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight title around his waist.

Griffin worked a picture perfect gameplan, peppering the champion with punches and leg kicks, keeping him off balance on his way to a unanimous-decision victory. Despite a great effort and being the new 205-pound king, Griffin still felt critical of his performance following the bout.

"It's one of those things, you're like I should have done this, I should have done that, I'm sure he feels the same way," Griffin said during the UFC 86 post fight press conference. "You feel like 'I won', that's obviously the best thing, I'm happy with they way things turned out, but there's a lot of stuff I planned on doing I didn't do. A lot of things I worked on that didn't work out, and I have a few ideas on things I can fix leading up to the fight."

Following the fight, as the judges' scorecards were read, a chorus of cheers and a few random boos sounded out in the arena, and the now former champion feels like he did enough to pull off the win for himself.

"I was surprised he won the fight, cause I could have swore I dropped him a couple times, I power bombed him, and then it was unanimous, I'm kind of surprised about that," said former champion Jackson. "I feel like if you the champ, somebody got to beat the champ, but it was unanimous, I'm not a judge."

Griffin took the word of his training partner and coach that he won the fight.

"Mike Pyle told me I won and I believe him," he commented with a smile.

The former champion stayed adamant following the fight that he didn't underestimate Griffin and commented on the 2nd round leg kicks that seemed to hamper him throughout the fight.

"No, I didn't underestimate Forrest, I tried to knock him the hell out, he just wouldn't go," Jackson stated. "I don't underestimate anybody. He kicked me right on the spot in the leg, I've fought K-1 fighters and guys didn't do that. He just did something good and hell, I'm going to watch tape and see how he did that. I'm going to start kicking folks right there."

Jackson of course welcomed the idea of a rematch with Griffin following their five-round classic that also earned each of the fighters a $60,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus.

"I'm happy with a rematch, I always want a rematch with anybody who beat me," said Jackson. "Now Forrest's on that list."

While Griffin happily walked away with the title and a bonus of his own, he also walked away with the satisfaction that he silenced a great many critics coming into the fight that said he didn't belong in the cage with the champ. Now he's holding the belt and the respect of the entire mixed martial arts community.

"I'm not a feared guy, but I'm going to fight you for 25 minutes, whoever you are, anybody at 205, I'm not going to break, I'm not going to quit," Griffin commented following the fight with Jackson.

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