Max Griffin: Falling Into Place
‘Everything happens for a reason’, or so the saying goes; When Max Griffin (13-4) lost a unanimous decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos back in October 2017, little did he know that this would kick start a chain of events that would ultimately reshape his career for the better.
‘We put on a hell of a fight, we heard that the owners were on their feet during the fight and that’s big!’ Griffin said, when speaking to SpitballingPod recently in regard to his last bout. The California-native received ‘Fight of the Night’ honours for the loss and was able to use the bonus to leave his full time job and begin training professionally as a fighter.
‘It all fell into perfect place, so I’m now able to do what I’ve been waiting to do my whole life. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, 40 hours a week. Basically I got this far part time and I’m looking at it like that’ he said. On his last day of work, Griffin received a call to offer him a fight with ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry as part of the UFC on FOX 28 show in Orlando on February 24th, a call he was both shocked and eternally grateful to receive – ‘Man, I was so excited. I was eating lunch at work and I got the call – I found out that I was gonna fight in the US, that was a win for me first and I was excited about that and then we heard we got Mike Perry and I was like a little kid, everyone in the restaurant must’ve thought I was crazy. I’m pumped to fight him; I know he’s probably the most popular welterweight right now. It’s an awesome opportunity’.
Max was right to be shocked, it was widely rumoured that Perry was set to face fellow contender Darren Till as part of the UFC London show, despite a loss in his last bout to Santiago Ponzinibbio; Explaining his shock at being offered the fight, he said ‘They could’ve chosen anyone, he’s been fighting top 10 guys, he’s up there – he’s been linked to Darren Till, Cerrone, Robbie Lawler and so for them to then tell me that I’m gonna fight him on FOX, it’s unbelievable. I think my last fight showed a lot and I think they want the world to see it. They know what they’re doing, they know that it’s gonna be exciting’.
Since the bout was announced, it’s certainly piqued the interest of the MMA community as it appears to be a stylistic match up that can’t possibly disappoint; When speaking on how he feels they match-up, Griffin said ‘He’s an aggressive banger, he throws big punches, he’s going for the kill and he’s kind of a brawler. I’m more technical, more precise and more of a sharpshooter – it’s gonna be good. It’s gonna come to that point where I know we’re both just gonna have to stand and bang and put it all on the line before one of us goes out on their shield’, before ultimately predicting ‘I’m gonna bust him up and finish him’.
Looking back now at how far he’s come, Max reminisces ‘I used to fight in parking lots and casinos’, and now he’s set to be on the main card of a FOX broadcast. In the octagon, the 32 year old goes by the moniker of ‘Max Pain’ and his ability to inflict that has never been in doubt, as he recalled ‘Even as a kid I was supposed to go to the Olympics’.
To kick off 2018, he was rolling into the year with the goal of being ranked, and beating Mike Perry would be a great way to start; Max keeps his amateur belts close to provide him with a daily reminder of how far he has come and the need to stay humble, but as far as his ultimate goals go, he’s aiming far higher, explaining ‘I wanna be one of the best ever, I wanna be the champion - I can knock anybody out, I can finish anyone and the world is gonna see that on the 24th’.