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Max Griffin ready to tackle top-15, because tough road in the UFC ‘forged me in the fire’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Max Griffin hasn’t been handed an easy road since joining the UFC, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

While his record inside the Octagon is decorated with three wins and four losses, the 33-year old welterweight is quick to point out the level of competition he’s faced in the UFC – not to mention a couple of questionable decisions along the way.

His first fight came against future interim champion Colby Covington, and the majority of his opponents have been ranked in the top-15 at 170 pounds at one point or another during their UFC careers.

As much as Griffin would love to be 7-0 right now in his UFC career, he’d rather have his current record, along with the knowledge that he’s faced the best of the best in one of the deepest divisions in the sport.

“I feel like I’m right there,” Griffin told MMAFighting when looking at his standing at welterweight. “I look at the Thiago [Alves] fight as a win. It’s not a loss. I’m not going to let two people change my opinion of my fight. I’m on a two-fight winning streak right now. I’m really figuring out how to do it now. It’s different in the UFC, and my road has not been an easy road.

“If you look at who I fought, I’ve fought good guys. A lot of guys have easier fights. Fight a bunch of no-name guys. All the guys I’ve fought are [ranked]. The guys that I’ve fought and beat damn near beat are top-10 guys. I’ve fought most of the tough guys that our division has to offer. For me, it’s great. I’m ready to start washing these guys out. I’m learning more and getting more comfortable.”

Griffin prefers the difficult road he’s traveled, as opposed to a prospect who joins the UFC and makes immediate waves while facing lesser competition, but then gets exposed badly when taking on the top fighters in the division.

As he prepares for his upcoming fight against Alex Morono at UFC Tampa, Griffin believes he’s right on the cusp of challenging for a spot in the top-15 rankings, and then climbing the ladder because he’s been prepared for it already.

“Most guys aren’t [ready],” Griffin said. “They get to the edge, and then they disappear. They get there and then they get exposed. They get wrestled, or made to strike, and then you never hear from them again.

“I feel like this road forged me in the fire. I could beat any of these guys now.”

Griffin has to look no further than his most high profile win in the UFC, when he earned a unanimous decision against Mike Perry, who’s coming off a heartbreaking split decision to No. 14 ranked Vicente Luque in his last outing. Luque then moved onto a main card spot on next month’s UFC 244 card, where he’s scheduled to face two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

Griffin knows deep down he’s only a couple of wins away from receiving those same kinds of opportunities.

“Mike Perry, you’ve got these guys that are having a hard time [with him],” Griffin said. “This last fight with Luque, he just beat Perry in a close fight. Now he’s fighting Stephen Thompson and he just beat Perry. That was a close fight, and I spanked Perry.

“It just puts me mentally where I’m at. That’s good for me mentally, just to know that these guys will be dealt with pretty soon.”

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