Kyle Griffin: Maintaining a Name to be Reckoned With

Being a fighter means sometimes you train with people so closely they become family. In some cases, the people you train with are your family.  Since the early days of MMA, family ties have been the ones that bind.

Of course, there’s the first family of MMA, the Gracies. Then the Shamrock brothers came. And today there’s the Miller, Diaz and also Griffin brothers also making themselves known.  While Kyle Griffin isn’t and exactly as much an MMA household name as Dan, Jim, Nate, Nick or brother Tyson, he’s an up and comer to start keeping an eye on.

Kyle currently trains with brother Tyson at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and has fought twice, notching one TKO victory and one TKO loss since beginning his MMA career in April 2010.  He debuted in the Freestyle Cage Fighting promotion where he took home a TKO win over Nick Ellison after a first round doctor stoppage. His follow up fight was a loss to Alan Jouban in “TPF8 – All or Nothing” this February.

Kyle said his loss (a TKO from knees 15 seconds in the first round) was the kind of battle that made him ask himself if he really wanted to be a fighter. Unlike most fighters who’d have to come to these decisions on their own, Tyson’s been in Kyle’s corner to advise him along the way.

While his brother has fought in the UFC since 2006 and has 21 fights under his belt, Kyle is newer to the sport, learning on the fly everyday trying to get to the next level “hopefully sooner than later.”  Kyle added that his brother’s success is something he’d absolutely love to achieve.  “I personally just have the wrestling background that kind of put me on the map a little bit.”  But he’s still developing all the skills needed “to compete at that level, to be a contender or to be a least champion. It’s a full time job to have successful wins like that.”

Coming into MMA with a brother who’s set the bar high isn’t easy, but he’s not letting the pressure of it phase him in fights.  “In my last fight, I didn’t feel any pressure I felt good I felt 100%.  I think I was a little conservative swinging.” When he turned to his brother for advice Tyson said, “Just go out there and fight. You know I was thinking should I get the takedown, get on top, be smart? And he was like go out there and be at ease, relax, go out there and fight and feel good and comfortable and let everything come naturally.  And I think I hear his voice a little bit.”

When Griffin talked UFC on FOX 3 with the MMA Fight Corner, he could always take a page out of Chael Sonnen’s book when it comes to making himself known.  He’s seen Chael workout and made some interesting revelations concerning who the “real” Chael Sonnen is.

“He goes to the gym and does his work and he’s just like any other guy.”  As for the Chael that the public thinks they know, “When he’s in front of the cameras, people start asking him questions I think he has fun being the bad guy.  He enjoys it.  And it’s obviously its the biggest way to promote himself. And he’s promoting himself to the absoulte utmost.  I don’t think anyone’s a better self promoter than Chael.”

For the time being Griffin’s working on just putting his skill set together, “I think the faster I go, the better I am. So if I go in there and I go fast and hard, I’m not bad. But if I try to slow down, and try to be more technical than somebody like a Martin Kampmann who’s a pretty good kickboxer, if I try to be more technical than him, you know, he’s still years ahead of me.  But if I go in there and make it fast and hard and just kind of a grind out a pace, than I feel that I can at least still hang with those guys right now, even if I can’t beat em yet.”

Even if he’s still learning the techinque, his mentality is already in the right place. “I try to keep the intensity high and live up to that.”  Put the right frame of mind, with the right training and good family name together and you can expect Kyle Griffin to be someone to be reckoned with in the near future.

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