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Fifteen Months After Last Fight, Forrest Griffin Excited, Scared for Return

LAS VEGAS -- Fifteen months after his last time in the octagon, Forrest Griffin is primed and ready to return in a featured UFC 126 bout with fellow veteran Rich Franklin.

And he's also a little bit nervous.

"I'm so scared it's f------ terrifying," he said on Thursday. "I haven't done it in a year. It's only harder. It doesn't get easier."

Griffin is consistently one of the most fascinating interviews in the MMA world, and part of that is due to the fact that he's often deadpan in his delivery, making it difficult to determine when he's joking or telling the truth. And he's more than generous with both. But Griffin has openly noted his nerves for his return over the last few weeks.

Last time Griffin fought was November 2009, when he beat Tito Ortiz by split decision. The time from then to now has been far and away the longest inactive stretch of Griffin's career.

The former UFC champion was in a playful mood two days before his comeback fight, touching on subjects as diverse as the Egyptian citizen uprising, the state of the publishing industry, and he even recited a few verses of his favorite poem, Rudyard Kipling's "If," which is about persevering through adversity.

Griffin said that 2010 was a tough year for him, even aside from his recovery from shoulder surgery.

He's certainly not coming back to an easy fight. Franklin is a former middleweight champ who has gone 2-1 in his last three light-heavyweight bouts, losing only a close split-decision to Dan Henderson.

"I'm not sure (where my advantage will be)," Griffin said. "If I can get on top and hold him there, that'd be great. That'd be obviously want I want to do. He obviously wants to pop me and drive me back. The clinch I think is going to be pretty even."

While Franklin said his footwork might offer Griffin the most trouble, Griffin noted that in the past, he's had tousle closing the distance against southpaws, because, as he puts it, "everything's wrong."

"You don't really know where to attack," he said. "I have go-to moves and what not but they don't really work."

Griffin didn't share much of his plan against Franklin, but seemed like he was more than willing to freestyle in there. He noted that Franklin's probably faced every kind of attack imaginable during his decorated career, and that both men have "a little bit of everything."

Here's more of what Griffin had to say on a host of topics...

After someone called him MMA's Oprah when Griffin said his next book would be a self-help book:
"Oprah did actually comment on my last book. She said it was delicious."

On the Egyptian revolution...
"Obviously Mubarak's got to go. That ain't going to work. We have such good relations with them. I don't want to see a Muslim-run government that doesn't like us, but if you want real democracy, sometimes people are going to take it and do what they want with it. That's real democracy, isn't it?"

After Griffin said Franklin was more popular than him, and a reporter asked him why...
"Am I writing a research paper? You just asked me a question. It's an intuitive response. I haven't done the statistics. I don't know who's got more friends on Facebook. Rich does, because I just started it, and I haven't actually been on it. Bam, question answered."

On whether he had any insights into the Anderson Silva-Vitor Belfort fight...
"I really don't. I've been beaten up by both guys."

After re-thinking his answer on the Silva-Belfort fight...
"Just don't rush Anderson Silva. That s--- ain't going to work out for you."

On facing a former schoolteacher...
"I will not have a math contest with him. If he wants to have a literature contest, I'm in."

On publishing...
"The written word is dead, brother. Borders isn't paying their bills. They just got a lien. The written word is dead. It's going the way of Tower Records. It's the truth. I see the future."

On his royalties from e-book readers...
"You know how much I get when you buy a Kindle copy? I get a poof of air."

On what advice he might have given Belfort on facing Silva...
"In the two seconds I was in there with Anderson, I didn't pick up any tendencies. He had a tendency to punch me in the face."

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