Ever since Forrest Griffin (17-6) made his UFC debut in 2005, the popular brawler has always made at least two appearances each year in the Octagon. However, that streak came to an end in 2010, with injuries forcing Griffin to remain out of action for all twelve months.

Now, with a co-main event light heavyweight showdown against former middleweight champion Rich Franklin looming on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at UFC 126, Griffin isn’t afraid to admit that the time off won’t help his cause.

“A good break now and then is great for your body, but it was too long,” Griffin said during a media call on Thursday. “This is the most ring rust I’ve ever had. I’m not excited about it.”

Griffin added, “Being off for the year, that’s huge. It’s a weird feeling. I’m a little more nervous than usual.”

The break from action is his longest since 2000, and Griffin said he’ll have to make adjustments in the first minute with Franklin to find his groove.

The winner of the 205-pound competition on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, Griffin went on to win the UFC title at UFC 86 with a split decision win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Although Rashad Evans ended his title reign one fight later, Griffin remains one of the organization’s most popular fighters with his all-action, fast-paced style.

Still, with all of his accomplishments and experience, Griffin thinks this fight does carry a little more added pressure, with the sold out crowd looking forward to his fight with the equally exciting and successful Franklin.

When asked if he felt any extra pressure ahead of UFC 126 — an event headlined by a 185-pound title bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort– Griffin replied, “Yes, it does … The ingredients for a great fight are there.”

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