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Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson Seek New Life at 145 Pounds

| June 22, 2011 | Reply

As is commonplace in today’s MMA world, Tyson Griffin and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson are shedding some pounds in hopes of remaining relevant in the UFC.  Both men have been staples of UFC lightweight division in recent years and now find themselves both on uncharacteristic three fight losing streak.  As many speculated with the merger of the WEC into the UFC, fighters are dropping from lightweight to featherweight without fear of a pay cut from competing in a less visible and lower profile organization.

On the wings of Kenny Florian’s successful debut at his new weight class, we are going break down (very briefly) the careers of Griffin and Stevenson and their chances of success in the UFC 145-pound division.

This isn’t Tyson Griffin’s first foray into the featherweight division.  He fought there early in his career, even defeating former WEC Featherweight Champion and current UFC Bantamweight number one contender Urijah Faber for the Gladiator Challenge promotion’s version of the featherweight title.  Shortly after, Griffin found himself in the UFC lightweight division.  He mounted a 7-2 record, losing only to current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and former lightweight champ Sean Sherk, before he began his three fight losing streak.  After a close split decision loss to Evan Dunham, a flash KO at the hands of Takanori Gomi, and a highly controversial loss to Nik Lentz, Griffin is headed back to the weight class that first gave him a name.

He will have his hands full in his return fight this weekend at UFC Live: Marquardt vs. Story, however, taking on former Ultimate Fighter Season 5 runner-up and former featherweight title challenger, Manny Gamburyan.  Griffin’s striking has greatly improved over the years, but his wrestling is still his bread and butter.  If he can keep Gamburyan on his heels and set up some good takedowns, this can be Griffin’s fight all night long.  He just has to stay out the Manny’s clinch and avoid his top-notch Judo skills and power striking.  A loss, however, could mean the end of the road for Griffin in the UFC, as the Zuffa brass is not too keen on keeping fighters following a four fight skid.

joe stevenson weigh in Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson Seek New Life at 145 Pounds

Joe Daddy will face Vazquez

In a comparable situation, Joe Stevenson is making his first venture into the featherweight ranks.  The former Ultimate Fighter Season 2 winner and former lightweight title challenger comes to new territory desperately seeking a mark in the win column.  Since his title fight loss to B.J. Penn at UFC 80, he has gone just 3-5, losing a few fights most expected him to win.  His current losing streak began with a decision loss to George Sotiropoulos, followed by a KO by Mac Danzig, and the latest being an upset to WEC crossover Danny Castillo.

Stevenson is in as much need of a win as anybody, as he takes on another WEC crossover, Javier Vasquez, this Sunday.  Vasquez was just 2-3 in the WEC and is making his post-merger debut.  This fight puts both men on the chopping block.  Stevenson has solid wrestling and a versatile ground game, but Vasquez poses those threats as well.

After this weekend, we will have seen three former lightweight stalwarts compete in the newly minted UFC feather division.  Don’t expect this trend to stop anytime soon.  As soon as a mid-to-undersized lightweight begins to fear his UFC career waning, he will likely take a dive into the featherweight pool in hopes of keeping the paychecks coming.


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Category: Exclusive, Featured, MMA, UFC

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