Former collegiate wrestling champion and WWE superstar Bobby Lashley has received criticism for the less-than-stellar competition he has faced since making the transition to professional mixed martial arts in 2008. The majority of that criticism is based upon his comparisons to UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar because of their similar backgrounds.
Whatever your opinion of Lashley, the fact remains he is still unbeaten, and truthfully, the fighters he has faced are still above the level of competition almost any heavyweight without the last name Lesnar would face during the early stages of their career. That’s the real truth of the matter.
Enter Chad Griggs; Lashley’s upcoming sixth opponent. The two will meet at “Strikeforce: Houston” on Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. No, he’s not a big name, but if it he has anything to say about it, all that is going to change on August 21st.
ProMMAnow.com caught up with this 8-1 Tucson knockout artist this week to talk about the unique challenge and enormous opportunity set before him. Thousands of MMA fighters would love to be in Chad Griggs’ shoes, but he was chosen. Why? He accepted. Why? We talked about all this and more. He ain’t scared. And probably more than any other of Lashley’s opponents before him, Chad Griggs has a real legitimate chance to ruin the former fake wrestler’s night.
Meet Chad Griggs people…
ProMMAnow.com: Hi Chad, thank you for talking with us today at ProMMAnow.com. How are you doing?
Chad Griggs: Hey guys thanks for asking, I am feeling strong and healthy.
ProMMAnow.com: A lot of MMA fans probably don’t know much about you at this point, but you could instantly change that on August 21st couldn’t you? How did you get selected for this fight and what does this fight against Bobby Lashley mean to you?
Chad Griggs: We have actually been talking with Strikeforce for a while working on getting a bigger fight and knew we were close to getting something but didn’t think it would be to this magnitude. This is a great opportunity for me to let Strikeforce know I’m for real.
ProMMAnow.com: How did you react when you were first approached about fighting Lashley?
Chad Griggs: Fight Legion, who manages me, called me while I was in Michigan to corner Mike Whitehead and said I have a fight for you in Strikeforce and he’s one of their big boys with a name. I had no idea it would be Bobby but when he told me I just had to laugh. I had been working on getting a 205 lbs. fight and instead it’s this beast that probably cuts to make 265. It didn’t slow me down a bit though. Most of my career my opponents have been bigger than me, and everyone knows size is far from everything. So I said put it together, this is what we’ve been looking for.
ProMMAnow.com: Had you been keeping up with Lashley’s career prior to this fight? If so, what is your opinion on him as a fighter and what he’s accomplished so far in his MMA career?
Chad Griggs: No, I really hadn’t been keeping up with him. I knew who he was and that he had made the jump, but didn’t follow him any farther than that, But there is no question he is a true athlete who has done well so far.
ProMMAnow.com: At first glance, people may just assume you are another hand-picked stepping stone for Lashley, but you actually may be one of the most dangerous guys he has fought. You have eight wins with seven knockouts and one submission by kimura. How does it make you feel knowing that certain people may be looking at you as a stepping stone for Lashley?
Chad Griggs: Ya I think most of the MMA world is planning on another easy win for him, but I plan on having a battle with me victorious. It actually is nice being the underdog, I think it makes you a little more dangerous because you’re going to put it all on the line to prove yourself. As for Bobby, he’s expected to win which puts a ton of stress on his shoulders. Although it looks as though his shoulders can handle a little bit of weight. (laughs).
ProMMAnow.com: You obviously have some dangerous striking, but I think most people will wonder about your wrestling, as that is Lashley’s biggest threat. How would you say your wrestling skills match up against Lashley, and how will you prepare yourself for that part of his game?
Chad Griggs: There is no question that when it comes to his wrestling skills he is very strong, but then again, we’re not just wrestling, are we? My team is well aware of Bobby’s strengths and weaknesses and we’ll be looking to take from his strengths and capitalize on his weaknesses. I have been working a lot with top notch wrestlers and know he’s coming in for that takedown sooner or later.
ProMMAnow.com: What is your martial arts background, how did you get started?
Chad Griggs: I got started many years ago with a good friend of mine by the name of Don Frye. Of course, back then I don’t think he called me friend, I think he called me punching bag. (laughs) For real though, Don was just smashing people, and after my first beating you couldn’t keep me out of the gym and after a few good beatings he started to actually teach me a few things. And the rest is history.
ProMMAnow.com: Where do you currently train and who are your coaches?
Chad Griggs: I mostly train in Tucson at Apex MMA with Joey Rivera, but spend a little time in Vegas with Mike whitehead, who is down here now helping me get ready for this fight.
ProMMAnow.com: How do you feel about the pro wrestling guys coming over to MMA; do you think it’s good for the sport? What about someone like Batista, he is 41 years old with no combat sports background, wanting to transition into MMA; do you think it’s a good thing because it will bring more attention or do you think it’s turning it into a type of freak show?
Chad Griggs:I think it’s good and bad. The good is that a lot of these guys are true athletes who have a long background in some form of wrestling or competitive sports and if they put their time in and become well rounded they very well could be competitive in MMA and bring a large fan base with them, as I think Bobby has. Now on the other hand, I worry about those who have no MMA skills whatsoever but want to jump into the sport and fight the very best right off the bat and disgrace the sport and all the fighters by thinking they deserve it just because they had a name in fake wrestling. I hope that people realize the amount of time, blood, sweat, and sacrifice that goes into being a world class fighter.
ProMMAnow.com: If you could end this fight with Lashley any way, how would you end it, and can you give us a prediction on how it is going to end?
Chad Griggs: I would love to end this with another KO. I don’t think the crowd would mind it either, but I will take what i can get. Bobby will be very tough so I am planning for a long hard fight and will be looking to win any way I can!
ProMMAnow.com: Chad, best of luck on August 21st. Thank you for taking time to talk with us. If there any sponsors or anyone you want to thank, go right ahead.