With a career defining performance against Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 28 earlier this year, Max Griffin opened some eyes and simultaneously put the welterweight division on notice. He returns Saturday at the stacked UFC 226, the crown jewel of International Fight Week.
Max Griffin, now a full-time professional fighter after juggling day jobs and MMA earlier in his career, has all the makings of a top 10 welterweight. Max ‘Pain’ must first get past the highly touted up and comer Curtis Millender this weekend at the landmark UFC 226 event, however. We spoke to Max ahead of the bout to get his thoughts on Millender, former foe Mike Perry, and more.
“I put a beating on Mike Perry on a FOX card, now I get to beat up Curtis on the biggest card of the year, life is good.”
“He is tough, he is tall, he has a few good weapons,” Griffin told Cageside Press in regards to Millender.
“Curtis is a good fighter; the UFC seems to think pretty highly of him. But they [UFC] think highly of me too, I put a beating on Mike Perry on a FOX card, now I get to beat up Curtis on the biggest card of the year, life is good.”
There’s no denying that life has been going well for the 32-year-old Californian who is now a full-time fighter, something that Griffin is still getting used to. “It’s like a dream come true,” said ‘Pain’ regarding his new work arrangement.
“The days blend now, it’s not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Now it’s 16, or 17 days till the fight.” Griffin continued, “It’s a different mentality that I have now where everything I do is for the fight. Everyday I’m making progress, improving, and sharping my tools.”
Even with the sudden removal of featherweight champion Max Holloway from UFC 226, the International Fight Week card is chock full of exciting match-ups. For Griffin it’s another day at the office, but he suspects his opponent may have some nerves. “Curtis hasn’t experienced anything like this,” Griffin explained.
“I’ve been on big fight cards, my first fight [in the UFC] was 202. I’m not a stranger to the lights and the action. My last fight against Perry in Orlando I was the main card. If anyone should have some nerves, it will be Curtis.”
Serendipitous perhaps, Perry is also fighting at this weekends landmark event. But Griffin wants everyone to know that he and Perry have squashed the beef. “I like Mike Perry,” Griffin said.
“We had our sh*t going on between us, but that was what it was. There has been a couple times on social media where Perry had my back against some guys talking sh*t.”
Griffin continued and speculated on whether he in fact has helped Perry in his fight career. “I helped Mike,” Griffin emphatically said. “I beat his ass so bad that he up and moved his camp to Jacksons, so I feel like I’m helping make him a better fighter.”
So maybe the Griffin-Perry beef isn’t in everyone’s rear-view just yet. Be that as it may, both Griffin and Perry fight this weekend at UFC 226, and if both men leave Vegas this weekend with W’s a rematch may be in order.
Don’t miss the most anticipated MMA fight card of the year. UFC 226 is live this Saturday night; you can watch the prelims on FS1, while the main card will be exclusively on PPV.