Forrest Griffin went from The Ultimate Fighter to UFC Light Heavyweight champion Saturday, outlasting Quentin “Rampage” Jackson to earn a victory via unanimous decision.
While the former champion predicted that a win would come via “ass whooping,” and that the judges would not be needed on July 5, the judges scored the bout 48-46 (twice) and 49-46.
“I’ve already cried in the octagon once, so I’m not gonna do that shit again,” Griffin said after being announced the winner.
Even in victory the humble champion acknowledged his adversaries punching power. “I’m not trying to sound like a tough guy, but every fucking punch he threw hurt.”
The sold out crowd was on their feet from the outset as both men received thunderous applauses during their respective ring entrances.
With anticipation in the building running high, the five round championship fight started off with a bang with both men exchanging heavy leather. The crowd electrified late in the first round when the former champion floored the original Ultimate Fighter with a right hook and attempted to finish the fight early, reminiscent of his previous victory over Chuck Liddell. However, the former police officer remained resilient, recovering quickly and rising to his feet, to the approval of the crowd before the round came to a close.
Round two was all Forrest Griffin and momentarily looked like the end of Rampage.
Griffin secured a takedown after hurting Rampage with a leg kick and kept Jackson in unfamiliar territory—on his back.
It was here that Griffin was at his best in the fight, keeping Rampage frustrated with a ground and pound attack and also attempted to pull off what many believe is impossible: a submission. Jackson battled out of a kimura, but Griffin dominated, earning a 10-8 victory on two of the judges score cards.
Forrest’s improved striking skills and constant pressure would prove to be the difference maker in the end. Jackson landed the heavier shots, but was unable to secure the knockout, while Griffin continued to push the pace. Though criticized for not being a hard hitter, Griffin remained consistent with his punches and kept Jackson guessing with repeated leg kicks, which seemed to take a toll on Jackson, who had his legs iced between rounds.
The physical onslaught by Griffin relegated the usually exciting Jackson to the role of counterpuncher, with Jackson’s greatest moment coming via a slam after Griffin attempted an arm bar.
Where Rampage clearly had an advantage boxing and landed heavier shots, Griffin’s frantic pace and the damage suffered to Rampage’s leg proved the difference between victory and defeat.
“He just whooped my ass,” Rampage said after the fight concluded. “Whenever you step in the octagon, it’s a 50/50 chance you might get your ass whooped.”
Griffin improves to 16-4, while Jackson is now 28-7.